Today’s Front Line Hero is Lutheran SeniorLife, and their LIFE (Living Independence for the Elderly) program, which is delivering thousands of meals to seniors in their community.
Lutheran SeniorLife manages four LIFE programs at locations in Western Pennsylvania, (LIFE Beaver, LIFE Lawrence, LIFE Butler and LIFE Armstrong), currently serving more than 760 participants. The LIFE program provides support and services that meet personal and health needs of the program participants. It is a managed care program that provides a comprehensive, all-inclusive package of medical and supportive services. The program is known nationally as the Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly (PACE).
Each LIFE program has an Adult- Day Center housed in the county in which it serves. LIFE participants can attend the centers to receive not only medical care from the Interdisciplinary Team but also socialization, programming and wonderful hot meals for breakfast and lunch daily.
When Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf announced the need to close many facilities to slow the spread of COVID-19, the LIFE programs, including the Nutritional Services staff, shifted their focus from serving meals at the centers to sending out frozen meals and food supplies to participant homes. Many of the seniors state that the only hot meals they eat are those received weekly at the LIFE centers.
The LIFE program already had systems in place to screen participants for food insecurity and provide frozen meals to those participants in need. The meals are prepared at the LIFE centers and hand delivered by LIFE transportation staff. Prior to the pandemic, they were providing an average of 350 frozen meals per month. Over the past five weeks, they have delivered more than 10,000 meals.
This has truly been a team effort by LIFE staff and a labor of love. They are receiving calls daily from participants and families thanking them for this service. One participant stated that she feels lonely at times being “stuck at home,” but when she sits down to eat her meal, she feels grateful and happy to know that “you all are thinking and care about me.”
Many of the participants who have not requested food assistance feel reassured just knowing food is available if they should ever need it. “I can sleep better knowing that you will help me with meals if I need them,” said one participant. “God bless you LIFE, I love you all,” said another.
This service helps fulfill the mission of Lutheran SeniorLife to continually transform and elevate health, wellness, and social services while fostering an Abundant Life for those they serve.
Thank you to Lutheran SeniorLife for your commitment to the seniors in your community, and for promoting food security during COVID-19!