We talked with Michele Fawcett-Long, coordinator for the Westside Friends program at the Senior Center, about how the Senior Center is keeping people connected.
How does the Westside Friends program support seniors?
Sometimes people become more isolated in their senior years or when they live with a disability. They may lose friends and family members, have chronic medical issues or be experiencing increasing difficulties getting out of their homes. The Senior Center’s Westside Friends program matches volunteers with seniors or people with disabilities for companionship, help with projects and assistance with tasks like grocery shopping and running errands. Many of our volunteers and seniors have created deep connections that are meaningful and fun.
Who are your volunteers and participants and how many people were engaged in the program in 2020?
Our volunteers and participants are all West Seattle neighbors. Last year 35 volunteers served 29 community members to make this program possible.
How have you adapted the program during the pandemic?
Our volunteers still stay in close touch with their senior friends, but now with careful attention to social distancing. Our pairs will talk on the phone or text each other. Or they may visit or take walks outdoors with masks on. Volunteers are also running errands to places like the grocery and drug store and dropping by books for their friends to read.
To find out more about this program, contact Michele at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pictured above are some of our Westside Friends volunteers: (left to right) Heather Gilroy, Kristin Escobar, Scott Schill and Megan Willmann.