Friday, December 04, 2020

Local News

Regional Senior Center Ends Fiscal Year on a Positive Note

The Estuary Council of Seniors, Inc. (ECSI), is happy to announce it is slowly reopening individualized services for seniors living in the region. While the center remains closed for gatherings and social events, this is a vast improvement over the previous eight months.

Like many other organizations and businesses, ECSI leaders worried for the health and safety of their clients when the senior center faced temporary closure due to the COVID-19 pandemic. ECSI has been providing seniors in the region with programs, services, and meals for more than 45 years and knew that many depended on them for vital nutrition, socialization, and support.

Despite having to temporarily close the center, the nutrition program stayed open and was busier than ever. As those most vulnerable to the virus, many seniors who had previously been independent were scared and now depending on ECSI’s nutrition program. The phone seemed to ring non-stop. A Grab & Go meal service was implemented to replace congregate dining. Over the course of six months, ECSI served 40,465 meals.

ECSI faced reduced staff and a rapidly rising number of clients, so it partnered with local restaurants over the summer months to help provide some of the Grab & Go meals at a reduced rate. This allowed ECSI staff to focus on Meals on Wheels and ensure there was no waiting list while also helping restaurants who were facing uncertainty themselves. That program remains a priority for ECSI and continues to serve a record number of area seniors.

Staff members have remained on-site to help support the seniors in the community who call in with questions. A monthly newsletter is still being sent out to keep subscribers informed as well as offering boredom busters like crossword puzzles and word searches to help people stay sharp. Online programs offered throughout the community are collated and shared with members. The seniors in the community needed to be engaged and ECSI continues to try to find ways to do that. Recently, the senior center was able to once again start providing individual health services, as well as re-open the Thrift Store.

The generosity from the community that allows ECSI to continue providing services to those who need them has been inspiring. The outpouring of support from individuals, businesses, and other organizations was a silver lining that provided hope and encouragement during challenging times.

As Executive Director Stan Mingione said, “We are fortunate that our communities have rallied and shown great support for our seniors and us. The pandemic caused us to lose 60 percent of our revenue streams so we would not be where we are without them.”

ECSI is proud to be closing out its fiscal year in a positive place. While the center may not be open for congregating and social engagement yet, it remains open as a service provider and a resource for seniors living in the estuary region.

ECSI serves the towns of Chester, Clinton, Deep River, Essex, Killingworth, Lyme. Old Lyme, Old Saybrook, and Westbrook. For more information on ECSI’s meal program or other issues, call 860-388-1611 and listen carefully as the options are subject to changeor visit and ECSI’s Facebook Page Estuary Council of Seniors, Inc. for posted updates.

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