FCA’s Chore Program assists seniors with household chores, laundry, food shopping and preparation, errands, and accompaniment to doctor appointments. Before the COVID-19 pandemic, FCA chore workers were visiting 61 clients bi-weekly for several hours each visit to provide these essential services.
As a result of the pandemic-related shutdowns, in-home services were placed on hold. Clients were left vulnerable and depending on FCA supports more than ever. Without hesitation, staff acted swiftly and creatively to implement a new plan.
As businesses, senior centers, and adult daycares, the lifelines for many local seniors, closed their doors, FCA’s EISEP Program swung into action to combat the unprecedented food insecurities and escalated needs of the community. The social isolation and separation from loves ones left clients more at risk and with even less support. Local stores and business were unable to provide essential needs and food. FCA clients were alone, frightened and hungry.
FCA Chore Workers began by calling regular clients, as well as EISEP participants, who were in need of immediate reassurance and emotional support. During those calls, chore workers assessed clients’ immediate needs, referring them to the Chore Supervisor and their Case Manager for assistance with food insecurity, counseling services, unmet personal care needs, and other physical and emotional effects of isolation.
It became clear that food insecurity was a priority issue for a majority of clients. The Nassau County Office for the Aging provided shelf-stable food boxes to those needing an immediate source of nutrition. The Chore Program staff immediately began delivering these packages and also connected seniors to additional nutrition programs including MOWs, Island Harvest, Long Island Cares, the Salvation Army and supermarket food delivery services. Just seeing a friendly face and knowing FCA was there to help diminished fear and reassured the clients that they would be taken care of. Chore Workers also provided masks, gloves and other PPE to clients when needed.
Chore workers also began food shopping for clients and providing essential items such as paper towels, toilet paper, and cleaning products when these became scarce. They picked up and delivered prescriptions for clients as pharmacy delivery services ceased.
FCA’s Chore Workers also took on the task of contacting EISEP clients to assist with the Census. They reminded clients to complete their census forms and assisted the clients when additional help was needed. In addition, they delivered 30 animatronic pets to seniors in local communities. These furry companions have brought joy and purpose to clients and have improved their quality of life.
Over the last year, FCA Chore Workers have stepped up and demonstrated true compassion and dedication to serve Nassau County seniors. At a time when many people were unable to leave their residences, FCA’s Chore Workers safely ensured the well-being of clients, while getting vital services out to Nassau County’s most vulnerable seniors.