Over the span of the pandemic, medical professionals have made it clear that COVID-19 risks increase with age. Adults 65 and older are the most vulnerable demographic in terms of hospitalization and death.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 8 out of 10 deaths reported in the U.S. have been adults 65 or older. Adults aged 65-74 are five times more likely to be hospitalized and 90 times more likely to die from the virus.
Aside from the virus, some seniors have mobility issues and may even have trouble caring for themselves. Many seniors are uncertain about where their next meal is going to come from.
Unable to provide on their own, seniors need an olive branch. Luckily, Elder Care Services has a few branches to spare.
Elder Care Services is not a nursing home. It is an organization that focuses on providing resources like food or equipment to seniors. The transition to isolation last March has significantly affected senior life, as Elder Care took on 250 new clients for meals on wheels and served 25,000 more meals in 2020 than 2019.
The pandemic has left Elder Care and Meals on Wheels with less interaction and fewer volunteers. In order to combat the lack of social interaction, Elder Care makes telephone reassurance calls to clients. CEO Jocelyn Fliger says the reassurance calls make all the difference.
“We are finding that these telephone reassurance calls are really a life-line to some of the seniors at home,” she said.
Fliger said social isolation can have a damaging impact on seniors’ mental and physical health. She also works to assuage the issue.
“There is more social isolation happening right now, which is detrimental to seniors in not only their mental health but their physical health as well.” Fliger said. “Social isolation for seniors is as bad for their physical health as smoking cigarettes.”
To Fliger, providing donated food and equipment does not meet the status quo; humanity is also a crucial part of providing service. “It is important for us to not only provide services like meals and adaptive equipment but also make sure that they’re having a human connection as well.”
The business has received a plethora of food. So much, in fact, that the conference room had to be converted into a food storage area, along with donated assistive chairs.
A friend of a client, who wishes to remain anonymous, had nothing but positive words to say about Elder Care Services. After a tireless search for sufficient care, their luck changed.
“We have tried so many avenues of assistance for my best friend’s mother, who is an amputee,” she said. “This has been the only organization [in Tallahassee] that has actually given her mom the help she needs. I’ve just been really impressed with them.”