Greetings Colleagues across the Commonwealth,
I hope this note finds you healthy and staying safe during these unsettling times. This is certainly not the way any of us thought we would be operating our senior centers, but we are still plugging along and making our way through unchartered territory. Many senior centers across the state are dark. Only the most essential services are being provided. Not having a full, busy, active senior center is not something we ever dreamed of, but here we are.
Some of us have experienced local disasters and have had to do this kind of work in the past. Whether it was a week-long power outage, a tornado or terrible storm, floods, gas explosions… you name it and some of you have been there. Here, we find that everyone is dealing with the same issue… a global pandemic. A virus wreaking havoc within each community and threatening our older adult population. This is a scary time for everyone.
Many of you are reaching out to your peers at other senior centers via email, text, video conferencing and more. I encourage more of you to do the same. This is a time that we can all learn from each other. Ask questions, vent our frustrations, provide helpful information and be good listeners. We all need support and there is no better time for this network to support each other, like we always do.
Many thanks to MCOA. As with all of us, the daily work and busy schedules of MCOA staff has been turned upside down. Each member of the MCOA team has been given new tasks and responsibilities around COVID-19 and they are all doing an amazing job stepping up to the plate and providing resources to all of us out on the front lines. The newly designed COVID-19 MCOA website is keeping track of the status of senior centers. Please remember to update your status as things change in your community. This is not an easy time for MCOA. Many thanks to Dave for his solid leadership and to the entire staff for refocusing their efforts to help get everyone through this pandemic.
No one has all the answers. No one knows when this will be over. But I do know this, we are a strong network providing lifesaving services to older adults across the state. Thank you all for what you are doing in your cities and towns. Thank you for continuing to be the support system that so many older adults need at this most difficult time. We have always tried to combat isolation among this high-risk population and now we are telling everyone to isolate! Stay home! As this continues into the foreseeable future, let’s try to think of ways to battle the loneliness that will come with continued isolation. Let’s share our best practices with each other.
You are a rock star. You may not feel like you are, but I’m telling you that you’re doing an amazing job and I encourage you to keep up the great work. I hope that in time, we will be able to look back on this experience and share stories of the amazing work that everyone has done. I hope that we will be able to look back and see how we all came together as a community to help those that are most in need. I hope we will be able to sit back and look at our senior centers and watch as people fill our halls once again.
We will make it through this. Keep doing what you’re doing and reach out to me, or any of your peers within the network.
Stay healthy and be well.
Rebecca Moriarty, MCOA President
Director, Hampden Senior Center