COVID-19 has changed our world. In order to keep everyone safe and healthy, LBFE halted face-to-face contacts with our elders, but we have stayed connected with our elders in many new ways.
What has never changed is what we can count on every day: Dedicated volunteers, creative staff and leadership, supportive donors, and resilient elders. Here’s a sampling of what some of our elders, volunteers, and staff experienced and learned during this unprecedented period.
Elder Ann on not being alone
We elders have gone through a lot already. We’ve done it before, and we can do it again. This pandemic isn’t the first time we’ve experienced crises– personal, health, financial. People have to go through things. But don’t feel alone in what you’re going through. We have to see beyond ourselves.
Try to be optimistic, and remember that no matter how isolated you may be, you’re not alone. That’s the important thing.
Looking forward to a weekly call from an LBFE volunteer is a powerful reminder that someone cares about me and what I’m up to.”
Volunteer Fé on fun phone visits
I dropped off some plants, cloth face masks, and bags of tangerines to the two elders I make phone visits to—Aida and Martha, and they were very happy.
Martha told me she’s talking to her plants—and they have been thriving! One of the plants I gave Aida is known as a shame or embarrassment plant in Puerto Rico, and it reminded her of home. When I asked her why it had that name, she said it’s because the leaves take on a red tint in the sun. We had a good laugh about this.
We’ve been able to have fun during quarantine, and we enjoy our phone visits.
Program Coordinator Tornu on lessons learned
Our elders have taught me to look beyond the surface and really try to understand the situation. Going through a pandemic, as well as confronting social and racial justice issues, it’s easy to focus on your own emotions and your community. Our elders identify how this all impacts them, but they also examine the implications for everyone.
They’ve helped me see that the decisions we’re making now during the pandemic will have a lasting impact on all of our lives and health. We may think we’re in our own bubble, but all of our bubbles are connected.
Event Planner Lili on staying connected
What I love the most about Little Brothers are all the opportunities for our elders to celebrate life year-round surrounded by friends. Now, with the high risk COVID-19 poses to our elders, we are not able to get together in person to celebrate, but we make sure we are connected through weekly phone visits and cards.
We have stayed committed to relieving elder isolation and loneliness and building friendships. I love chatting with our elders and volunteers, and bringing all generations together in friendship. I look forward to being able to celebrate face to face soon.
Elder Benjamin on tackling tough times
Have faith. Do the best you can under these trying times. And try not to worry or get bent out of shape, especially over something we can’t control.
I go to the store early, wearing my mask and gloves. Then I come straight back home. And I try my best not to be bored. I have a television, and I write letters, read, and play my records. I don’t have a pity party.
LBFE’s Response to COVID-19
In March, Little Brothers was immediately proactive with a comprehensive plan to minimize exposure to COVID-19. The initiative, We Care / We’re Careful, communicated strategic decisions and program changes. “From the start, our commitment has been to responsibly serve our elders, while making important changes to help protect the health and safety of our elders, as well as volunteers, staff, and partners,” says Simone Mitchell-Peterson, CEO.