Last week, U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla., held a roundtable discussion with various organizations in order to bring attention to the many services available for seniors who are feeling lonely or helpless amid the pandemic.
“I want people to know that they’re not alone. They think they’re alone but they’re not alone. There are a lot of people who are willing to help them, and be with them,” Frankel said. “You are not alone. There are people who will help you. We are going to get through this. We still have a lot more months of what looks like social distancing and mask-wearing and we want people to know that we are going to get through it together.”
211 Palm Beach and Treasure Coast is able to connect seniors with the many services offered to them just by calling 211, from food delivery services to social events.
“We’re kind of an umbrella organization and a partner with everybody who is on this call,” said Sharon L’Herrou, the president and CEO of 211 Palm Beach and Treasure Coast. “Anyone can reach us any time at 211. Even if it’s in the middle of the night.”
L’Herrou said many seniors have been calling 211 because they’ve been suffering from anxiety and loneliness and also have not known what to do in a variety of situations, from grocery shopping to doctor visits.
“They need someone to talk through those kinds of things with them and we’re here for them,” L’Herrou said.
211 leaders say they are able to connect people with emergency food delivery services as well as many other services through senior advocates. 211 also offers the free Sunshine Daily Call program, where seniors can sign up for a daily phone call from a 211 caller who calls to make sure he or she is OK.
Jewish Family Services offers a wide range of services, including a grocery delivery service where seniors call in their orders to volunteers over the phone.
“We utilize volunteers who take orders over the phone and then do the shopping for the folks and then bring the groceries to the home and can assist with putting them away, they use proper PPE,” said Alice Tennis, the vice president of senior services for Jewish Family Services.
Jewish Family Services also has a program where volunteers drive seniors to and from their doctor appointments. There are also various virtual social gatherings through Jewish Family Services.
Compass Coffee Clatch and Palm Beach Prime Timers are LGBTQ senior programs where people can participate in various in-person or virtual social events, learning about various topics from including exercise routines, nutrition, breathing techniques and history lessons.
The Area Agency on Aging, which is state and federally funded, is the Palm Beach County agency that assesses seniors’ situations on a case by case basis, referring them to different services if necessary. You can call the Area Agency on Aging directly at 866-684-5585. The agency also partners with local businesses to feed seniors throughout the county.
The agency also has a program in place where seniors can mentor young children.
People can be connected to all of these services across the Palm Beaches and Treasure Coast by calling 211.