Buffalo County Community Partners Looking to Relieve Isolation for Seniors

KEARNEY – Buffalo County Community Partners is circulating a “wish list” of gifts ideas to support socially isolated seniors in Buffalo County area who live in long-term and assisted living facilities. Lisa McGuire, ombudsman with South Central Agency on Aging, volunteered to lead this work by reaching out to local facilities and residents’ families to develop a wish list.  A group of long-term care coordinators are joining together weekly, facilitated by Buffalo County Community Partners staff to brainstorm ideas to relieve isolation during this pandemic. 

“Many facilities in our community have been facing the same problems of isolation for their residents. COVID-19 has impacted our world and has especially disrupted daily routines of our long-term care residents,” said McGuire.

“When Denise Zwiener asked if we would be interested in helping allocate $20,000 in DHHS CARES grant dollars earmarked for elderly social isolation, I was very excited to accept. I found the Eversound product that will be useful as many homes will be using physical distancing for our near future to keep residents safe,” said McGuire.

The Eversound is a wireless listening system that lets residents stay connected and supports physical distancing, by enhancing the ability to hear and focus on a conversation. This device is made specifically for seniors and will let residents connect with family and staff at the facilities. 

McGuire says they are looking at getting Eversound devices and other technology for each long-term care facility in our area.  Other wish list items include; Ipads, Ipad charging stations, smart televisions, electronic picture frames, and weighted shoulder wraps and lap blankets. 

“We are hopeful that families will consider purchasing an electronic picture frame for their loved ones and download pictures this holiday season.  We know everyone may not be able to do this for their loved one, so we are working to build a community support system around our seniors with these Response and Recovery funds,” stated Denise Zwiener, executive director, Buffalo County Community Partners.

Funding for this project was awarded from Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Community Cares ACT Response and Recovery Grant to help alleviate isolation of residents who are in long-term and assisted living facilities where COVID-19 restrictions have disrupted life for many individuals and their families.

“There is no time for us to apply for these grants. It is so kind that Community Partners has been there applying for these grants and rooting for us,” said Emily Birdsley, Administrator at Mount Carmel Home. “We have been doing everything we can to keep our head above water during this pandemic. It is so nice to have a support system in our community.”

To financially support Community Partners in providing hope and getting resources to our community, visit bcchp.org/donate.  

Buffalo County Community Partners is a non-profit organization that seeks to assess, strengthen, and promote the health of Buffalo County by engaging people, facilitating conversations and leading data driven community decisions. For more information on how you can assist in building a healthier Buffalo County, visit bcchp.org or donate during Give Where You Live www.bcchp.org/donate. 

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