Kindness will get us through.
As we wrap up week two of remote programming I am reflecting on what I am grateful for, and what is giving me hope: literally counting our blessings. This week I am thankful for:
The fact that so many students and volunteers answered our calls for help that we now have a volunteer wait list for support calls (telefriending). Across the globe we are seeing people step up and reach out to neighbors, friends, and strangers to make meaningful connections.
Video messages sent in from the LBFE family for older adults in our community looking for a friendly face, a reminder that they have not been forgotten.
A lovely greeting from our friends at Smith House responding to the video messages at our usual program time. Knowing that we, too, have not been forgotten.
The LBFE staff that is staying strong, adaptable, and flexible during an unprecedented time and working tirelessly to keep social connections alive during social distancing.
That as of writing this, we all still have our health and high spirits.
As the world continues to change and the situation evolves, LBFE is committed to our mission of relieving isolation and loneliness among the elderly. We are coordinating with the Age Strong Commission, elder services providers, senior housing communities and our university partners to ensure needs are being met in the safest way possible. Right now that means reducing the number of people physically providing services and following the recommendations and protocols set by our City and State officials.
To continue serving our mission in a new way, LBFE Boston has implemented our Bridge the Distance programs.
We’re looking for YOU to share a short (<1 min) video message for older adults to let them know people are thinking of them. In your video you can share a fond memory, something that made you laugh today, or an uplifting story or quote. Please submit to Stephenie (videos will be posted to our social media channels and YouTube, your submission grants LBFE Boston permission to use publicly).
Students and volunteers are calling older adults twice a week to check in and say hello. Being alone can be scary and lonely, knowing someone is going to call can be a source of strength and comfort. In addition to providing social support, our callers are making referrals for essential services.
While our CitySites program is on hiatus our intergenerational work continues. As a leader in IG work in Boston, LBFE is committed to fostering friendships across cultures and generations even at a distance. Students are calling friends they’ve made at the programs they attend and both other and younger participants continue to look to each other for companionship and strength. As we move into the Spring we are working with our community partners for more creative ways to bring older and younger people together through friendship. Loneliness knows no age – and while isolation is increased at this time, the need for connection will last much further into the future.
To ensure that we can continue our work through the pandemic and for the years ahead, we still need your financial help
Our work to relieve loneliness among the elderly is more important than ever before. Please help us keep our phones ringing and [virtual] doors open during this time of immense need. We can’t keep going without your vital financial support.
Your kindness and care is what keeps all of us going. Thank you to our students and volunteers who are participating in our Bridge the Distance programs to help older adults during this crisis. Thank you to the medical professionals and first responders who are risking their own health to heal the world. Thank you to the utility workers who are keeping our lights on, homes warm, internet running, and water flowing. Thank you to the local restaurants, grocery workers and farmers who are keeping food on our tables. Thank you to those who keep working and keep our society together so we can have hope for a prosperous tomorrow.