Harvard Medical School affiliate Hebrew SeniorLife (HSL), a nonprofit organization committed to improving the lives of older adults, has recognized Wellesley resident Steve Bearak during National Volunteer Week for his contributions to HSL during the current COVID-19 emergency. National Volunteer Week runs April 19 -25, 2020.
“The operations of all of our senior living campuses have changed completely as we work to prevent, mitigate, and contain the virus,” said HSL Chief Operating Officer for Senior Living Kim Brooks. “The teams that routinely operate our independent and assisted living communities suddenly have roles that never even existed before. Protecting and supporting these 1,700 seniors could not be done without the help of volunteers who give their time and energy. We are so grateful.”
Bearak has been sorting groceries and mail, answering the front desk phone, and providing light administrative duties at the Jack Satter House. Appropriate social distancing and infection control guidelines have been reviewed with all volunteers. They are wearing appropriate PPE, regularly washing their hands, and are screened before entering one of HSL’s campuses
Dozens of HSL volunteers have raised their hands to help. As a result, food, packages, laundry, medications, mail, notices, and more are being delivered to residents’ doors. In addition to an increase in hot meals delivered from the communities’ kitchens, families are dropping off food and other necessities, and residents can order frozen meals and groceries that also need to be packaged and delivered. Additionally, residents receive a wellness check-in call regularly – sometimes even daily - from a friendly voice. These calls, done by staff and volunteers, are a lifeline and include inquiries about physical and mental health, identification of specific needs, and provide an opportunity for conversation. Volunteers are also covering essential administrative duties, freeing staff from those roles to assist with the new operational needs of the pandemic.