F.I.S.H. Assists Seniors Struggling with Isolation
For many seniors, the mandated practice of social distancing can lead to isolation. FISH recognizes senior isolation as an existing issue, but during the current health crisis there is concern about many seniors feeling a greater sense of loneliness. Not only is social isolation a problem for mental wellness but it can also impact physical health.
Continuing their work to battle senior isolation, FISH OF SANCAP is making an extra effort to stay connected with older islanders by offering daily well-check phone calls, adding cheery notes of kindness with their Meals-by-F.I.S.H. and Food Pantry deliveries, and even offering video chats.
“At FISH we’re concerned with ensuring our senior population is still socializing and feel connected to their community through a variety of programs,” said Alicia Tighe, Executive Director, FISH of SANCAP. “Now, some of those programs are on pause, but we’re adapting others to make sure our seniors are not becoming totally isolated. FISH and our volunteers, working remotely, are making calls daily to island seniors, delivering their groceries, bringing them hot meals, and connecting with them through little notes and acts of kindness,” Alicia added.
The following is a story of a current FISH client:
“My name is Betty and I’ve been living on the island for over 30 years. Now, I guess I’m what people think of as an “old lady”. Many of my friends either come and go seasonally or are no longer on the island so, living on my own, it’s become harder to do some of the things I’ve always done.
Starting last year I’ve began using the FISH Food Pantry to help with some groceries because I am on a fixed income. I don’t really eat much, but I do visit at least three times a week so I can see the volunteers and staff to say hello. They’re all my friends there and it’s nice to get out of the house to see them.
When FISH explained to me that the Food Pantry wouldn’t be open for inside shopping and that we had to request food from a distance, it made me really sad. I always looked forward to my pantry days. I don’t go out much or visit with friends, so this whole distancing thing makes me feel very alone.”
Now, in addition to grocery deliveries, Betty is receiving hot meals, through the Meals-by-F.I.S.H. program, and daily reassurance calls from one of her favorite volunteers who calls to socialize and check on Betty’s well-being. While neither allows for close interaction, they give Betty something to look forward to daily. And, through the kindheartedness of volunteers, community members, and local children, Betty receives a friendly note or welcome wave with deliveries.
“While connecting from a distance can’t replace one-on-one interaction, we’ve heard back from Betty expressing her gratitude for the ‘extra attention’ she is receiving,” says Maggi Feiner, President and CEO of FISH. “Sometimes, it’s simple acts of kindness that make all the difference to those in need.”
The FISH Walk-In Center and Food Pantry hours will be staggered over the next month due to construction. If you have any questions about FISH hours, services, or if you need assistance, please contact Alicia Tighe, Executive Director, at 239-472-0404 or by email, firstname.lastname@example.org.