By Amelia Tarallo,
Hometown Weekly Staff -
HESSCO, a nonprofit whose mission is to help older adults and individuals living with a disability remain safe and independent at home for as long as possible, has been aiding seniors in Norfolk County communities since 1973.
It is of no shock to anyone, then, that the organization has continued working hard during the weeks of the COVID-19 crisis - even as others have found themselves at a standstill.
HESSCO quickly adapted to follow safety procedures to prevent the spread of the virus as requests for their services have increased every day. “HESSCO and its care providers are following new protocols and guidances issued by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, Executive Office of Elder Affairs, and the Center for Disease Control and Prevention,” shares Susan Longmoore, the community relations manager of HESSCO. “In-home care providers must use personal protective equipment while delivering care to HESSCO consumers. We are holding daily conference calls with our providers to ensure swift communication of any new information or concerns. We have adapted our protocols to complete phone assessments of care needs.”
One of HESSCO’s most popular services is Meals on Wheels. During these weeks, HESSCO has received a 66 percent increase in requests for meal deliveries, and the organization is working diligently to ensure that it can take on even more. Its staff communicates with its caterer every day to ensure they can meet the requests, devotes more staff time to processing those requests, and strategizes with local councils on aging. As they work, community members have reached out to volunteer and provide their own time to help ensure that all seniors in need receive hot meals, Monday through Friday.
They're also contingency planning, just in case. “We are supplying our meals consumers with additional frozen or shelf-stable meals to store, in the event we do experience a disruption in service,” explains Longmoore.
As HESSCO works to ensure that people receive all the care they need, the organization is not immune to the shortages plaguing local communities. “As a result of the pandemic, our consumers have shared their concerns about shortages of everyday items,” writes Longmoore. “Typical household items that are in short supply are hand sanitizers, toilet paper, disinfecting wipes. Our volunteers continue to need gloves and face masks daily. We are working diligently to provide these items both to consumers and volunteers. HESSCO continues to seek out these donations from the community and welcomes your donations as well.”
HESSCO continues to be there to support its communities as the world changes every day and the COVID-19 crisis stretches on. Like most people and organizations, it has struggled with some of the new circumstances. “At this time, we urgently need funds to meet the changing demands of our community," states Longmoore. "Please consider a monetary donation to HESSCO to help us cope with this pandemic and allow us to continue to support older adults in South Norfolk County. Donations can be made through our website at www.HESSCO.org. We appreciate your support!”
If you or someone you know is in need of services, visit www.hessco.org or contact a HESSCO staff member at (781-784-4944).