October 23rd, 2020 – Over the past months, United Way has responded to the needs of Long Islanders experiencing unparalleled hardship. Through United Together: A Response Fund for COVID-19, nearly 10,000 families in Nassau and Suffolk Counties have received financial assistance.
Now, as the organization transitions from response to recovery, its focus is protecting Long Islanders that are most vulnerable and at risk, especially the elderly, who have been greatly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic taking over 3,000 lives on Long Island. While social distancing protects the health of seniors, it also severs ties to critical resources, including access to food, medication and socialization.
United Way’s Safe at Home for Seniors health and safety program supports low-income older adults in the Towns of Islip, Babylon, Brookhaven and Huntington. The program allows this vulnerable population to remain in the comfort and safety of home, where they are best protected while maintaining a full life.
United Way is working in partnership with its community agency network, including Pronto of Long Island, to select and train Community Navigators in working with seniors. They provide “Safe at Home Kits” containing personal PPE items and staying safe information cards, as well as ensure clients have adequate groceries and personal and hygiene supplies. In addition, Community Navigators help fight depression and loneliness by helping seniors stay in touch with loved ones virtually and connecting them to mental health and support services, if needed.
“The Town of Islip has always taken great pride in providing its senior population with dynamic senior centers, indoor and outdoor physical activities, and a broad range of opportunity for social engagement. Through our partnership with United Way of Long Island, we are now able to offer these critical “Safe at Home Kits” to our senior citizens, and high-efficiency particulate air filters (HEPA) to the frail elderly, and those who are most vulnerable,” said Islip Supervisor Angie Carpenter. “We are grateful to United Way for their partnership. As we continue our efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19, these resources provide an additional layer in keeping our senior population safe, healthy and in touch with their families,” added the Supervisor.
“The senior population is experiencing unparalleled hardship in the face of COVID-19. Safe at Home for Seniors is part of United Way of Long Island’s United Solution of working in partnership with agencies across to Long Island to protect and assist our 62+ community. Collectively, we need to be best prepared to serve our region’s most fragile, especially should a second wave of the pandemic strike our region,” said Theresa A. Regnante, President and CEO of United Way of Long Island.
The Safe at Home for Seniors program:
- Protects low-income seniors from COVID-19 with safety kits with PPE and sanitizers as well as ensure that they practice safe hygiene and prepare them for necessary trips out in the public.
- Helps to manage everyday tasks such as stocking up on groceries, preparing or ordering hot meals, coordinating transportation to medical appointments and connection to medical alerts.
- Helps seniors communicate with loved ones and health care professionals with virtual devices.
- Facilitates in-person screening assessments (physical health, emotional health, depression, Alzheimer’s and Dementia).
- Reports any notable health or mental health changes to family or designee.
- Facilitates health, safety, accessibility and universal design home check screenings for seniors. If needed, coordinate minor home or accessibility repairs.
Photo Caption: The Town of Islip supports United Way of Long Island’s Safe at Home for Seniors program, which partners with community agencies to keep older community residents safe, healthy and connected to resources such as food and mental health support, while sheltering at home.
Pictured left to right: Vivian Everett, Navigator, Pronto of Long Island; Islip Town Supervisor Angie Carpenter; and Biena De Pena, Community Impact Program Manager, United Way of Long Island