With a focus on the senior population, Erika Broyles, FISH OF SANCAP Senior Services Director, continues to provide hands-on services to the community’s most vulnerable. “While FISH is assisting all residents and workforce survivors, my main focus is on our older population,” says Broyles. “So many seniors are displaced due to damage or loss of their home, or living in damaged houses while repairs are being made. We are assisting in every way to make their environment as pleasing as possible until they can fully recover.”
Dave White, whose name has been changed to protect privacy, became homeless after Ian. In his late 70s, he struggles with health issues and now mental wellness after the destruction Ian caused. “Being less mobile, he didn’t feel like he could evacuate,” continues Broyles. “His home was destroyed and he stayed at various places for many months; he has few friends and no family.”
Thankfully White reached out to FISH to find assistance he so desperately needed. FISH was able to secure a Unite trailer, help him get started on food stamps and located a new primary care doctor to help manage his health. “Mr. White was confused and distraught just after the storm, and still has difficulty ‘connecting the dots’. Routine tasks have become challenging for him since Ian,” said Broyles. Broyles noted that she’s helped him by organizing his paperwork, providing folders, writing supplies and a suggested filing system. “He seemed to like that,” she said. “He definitely perks up when his surroundings are less chaotic.”
FISH has enrolled White in their visitation program where he receives weekly home visits in his new trailer. He is provided with items from the food pantry, a smile and conversation which helps keep him engaged and uplifted. “He’s noted how lonely he is, so I try to visit with him for an extended period of time to provide some socialization,” said Broyles.
Many seniors continue to feel lost and forgotten and are struggling with the loss of community. With neighbors that have moved away, either temporarily or permanently, senior isolation is concerning. Now, White attends the monthly Friendly Faces luncheon for socialization as well as the weekly counseling provided by SalusCare and Project H.O.P.E.
“We’re doing everything we can to bring back the spark he had before Ian,” said Broyles.
Through their long-term recovery assistance program, FISH assists Sanibel and Captiva residents and workforce with Hurricane Ian recovery aid. In addition, the agency continues to offer traditional programs focused on their four major pillars – Food, Island Based Education, Social and Senior Services, and Helping Hands to ensure no need goes unmet. The organization is answering all requests for assistance including but not limited to emergency financial assistance, providing rebuilding supplies and assisting with medical and mental health referrals and resources.
If you or someone you know needs disaster recovery assistance, contact FISH at 239.472.4775. For questions or services specifically related to seniors, please contact Erika Broyles, 239.472.4775 or email@example.com.