Buffalo County Community Partners purchased Eversound devices for 14 Long Term Care homes and Assisted Living facilities in Buffalo County to break down barriers faced by socially isolated seniors. Funding for this project was provided by the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services Cares Act Response and Recovery Grant, to alleviate isolation of residents due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Funds were received to relieve the isolation faced by many of the seniors in Buffalo County. Community Partners invited directors of long term care facilities to assess the need and provide direct support to centers. Lisa McGuire stepped up to lead this initiative and spoke with every Buffalo County center to develop a ‘wish list’. Centers picked from the wish list and wishes were granted. “Having funds to support seniors in our communities was a blessing, finding leadership to connect all our care facilities was a gift, it was a magical process to watch unfold over a series of months last year.” Stated Denise Zwiener, Executive Director of Buffalo County Community Partners.
Eversound’s wireless listening systems are designed specifically to help older adults with hearing impairment focusing on conversations. With the COVID-19 pandemic, Eversound developed a configuration of its wireless listening system that enables high quality two-way communication even when individuals are physically separated by a window, plexiglass partition, or across courtyards. Matt Reiners, Co-founder of Eversound, said, “Eversound brings people together while we remain apart.”
Lisa McGuire, ombudsman with South Central Agency on Aging, found the devices while searching for items to help the seniors in Buffalo County. She thought they would be a great way to help alleviate some of the stress that the long term care facilities have been faced with. McGuire said, “Most of our residents have been completely isolated since early April. We desperately wanted to help them feel some sort or relief. The Eversound devices seemed like such a practical way to help.”
“Buffalo Community Partners has been proactive in identifying solutions that will add positivity and help senior living residents within Buffalo County and their loved ones reconnect while continuing to practice necessary physical distancing for the health and safety for all,” said Reiners.
The COVID-19 pandemic is continuing to keep our seniors isolated and Community Partners is helping facilities continue to help their residents. “We have been doing everything we can to keep our head above water during this pandemic. It is so nice to have the support of BCCP and the other facilities in the area working together to come up with ways to keep our residents engaged,” said Emily Birdsley, Administrator at Mount Carmel Home.
Every facility also received a laptop or iPad, Media carts and frames, and weighted blankets or shoulder wraps for the residents. These items where requested by long term care facility managers to help ease the pain of social isolation for their residents. Additional funding was braided into this effort from Nebraska Suicide Prevention Coalition and private donors; providing 700 self-care kits to every employee of long term care and assisted living centers in Buffalo County.
Buffalo County Community Partners is a non-profit organization that seeks to assess, strengthen, and promote the health of Buffalo County by engaging people, facilitating conversations and leading data driven community decisions. For more information on how you can assist in building a healthier Buffalo County, visit bcchp.org. To financially support Community Partners in providing hope and getting resources to our community, visit bcchp.org/donate.