Stoney Creek’s SOS ‘lifeline’ for housebound seniors

News Apr 24, 2020 by Richard Leitner Stoney Creek News

Like many seniors, Helga Michel is heeding calls to stay at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

But the widow says she’s only able to do so thanks to Stoney Creek’s Seniors Outreach Services, whose volunteers do her grocery shopping.

Michel, 80, says she first contacted SOS four years ago when her husband began having health problems and could no longer drive her anywhere.

When he died last summer, the agency took on an even more critical role in her life, arranging for volunteers to do chores like grass cutting and raking leaves that her husband always did.

Trips to appointments and the grocery store have been suspended due to the pandemic, so she relies on the food deliveries.

“Since my husband passed away, the SOS has been my lifeline. Whenever I need anything as far as groceries are concerned, somebody picks up the list and delivers the groceries to the back door,” Michel says.

“It’s been a tremendous help. I can’t tell you how grateful I am. I wouldn’t be able to be in my house if I didn’t have the SOS.”

Norma Rookwood, who began volunteering at SOS last July after seeing an ad in the newspaper, says she’s happy to do grocery shopping, choosing times early in the day or after the evening rush when there are no lineups to get in stores.

The retired Hamilton public school office administrator says she takes necessary precautions when shopping and limits her interaction with clients on grocery runs to dropping off the food and collecting payment.

Rookwood, 64, says she has five regular clients and calls one every week just to chat and help lessen the stress induced by the pandemic.

Conversations can go on for 50 minutes and she mostly just listens, she says.

“It doesn’t take anything to make a phone call,” Rookwood says, noting one of the reasons she began volunteering with SOS was the realization she might be in her clients’ shoes one day.

“I love it. I’ve met really interesting people, really nice people. Some of them are just people who want to talk,” she says. “They want someone to listen and (there’s) no judgment.”

The pandemic closed SOS’s headquarters at the Saltfleet Community Centre on Highway 8 on March 24, but office volunteer Joanne Baran is helping to monitor phone messages and maintain contact with its 600 clients.

This includes contacting the three drivers who are delivering groceries during the pandemic, she says, noting SOS is always looking for extra hands to help clients.

“Some of these people don’t have kids and they don’t have any family that can take care of them. It’s a little bit sad and we’re doing what we can, but they’re so appreciative,” says Baran, 60, who began volunteering at SOS after retiring from her job at a Bell call centre four years ago.

“Everybody that we’ve been calling, even if they don’t need anything, they just say, ‘Thank you very much for calling and making sure we’re OK.’ It’s a very good feeling to know that you’re helping.”

SOS vice-president Pam Witt, also a volunteer, says the office is getting fewer calls right now because services like rides to appointments, house cleaning and yard work have been suspended.

But she says volunteers are calling clients every three or four weeks to check on how they’re faring amid the pandemic.

“At lot of them are very, very anxious, don’t really understand what it’s all about, as (with) most of us,” Witt says.

“We’re just asking them if their situation has changed, if someone’s still getting their groceries, and just reassuring them that there’s somebody out there that’s caring about them.”

Anyone needing help or wishing to volunteer can call the SOS office at 905-643-1919 or email seniorsoutreach608@gmail.com.


STORY BEHIND THE STORY: With seniors particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus and advised to stay at home, we wanted to find Stoney Creek volunteers who are helping them keep safe during the pandemic.

 

Stoney Creek’s Seniors Outreach Services ‘lifeline’ for housebound seniors

#keepseniorssafe

News Apr 24, 2020 by Richard Leitner Stoney Creek News

Like many seniors, Helga Michel is heeding calls to stay at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

But the widow says she’s only able to do so thanks to Stoney Creek’s Seniors Outreach Services, whose volunteers do her grocery shopping.

Michel, 80, says she first contacted SOS four years ago when her husband began having health problems and could no longer drive her anywhere.

When he died last summer, the agency took on an even more critical role in her life, arranging for volunteers to do chores like grass cutting and raking leaves that her husband always did.

Related Content

Trips to appointments and the grocery store have been suspended due to the pandemic, so she relies on the food deliveries.

“Since my husband passed away, the SOS has been my lifeline. Whenever I need anything as far as groceries are concerned, somebody picks up the list and delivers the groceries to the back door,” Michel says.

“It’s been a tremendous help. I can’t tell you how grateful I am. I wouldn’t be able to be in my house if I didn’t have the SOS.”

Norma Rookwood, who began volunteering at SOS last July after seeing an ad in the newspaper, says she’s happy to do grocery shopping, choosing times early in the day or after the evening rush when there are no lineups to get in stores.

The retired Hamilton public school office administrator says she takes necessary precautions when shopping and limits her interaction with clients on grocery runs to dropping off the food and collecting payment.

Rookwood, 64, says she has five regular clients and calls one every week just to chat and help lessen the stress induced by the pandemic.

Conversations can go on for 50 minutes and she mostly just listens, she says.

“It doesn’t take anything to make a phone call,” Rookwood says, noting one of the reasons she began volunteering with SOS was the realization she might be in her clients’ shoes one day.

“I love it. I’ve met really interesting people, really nice people. Some of them are just people who want to talk,” she says. “They want someone to listen and (there’s) no judgment.”

The pandemic closed SOS’s headquarters at the Saltfleet Community Centre on Highway 8 on March 24, but office volunteer Joanne Baran is helping to monitor phone messages and maintain contact with its 600 clients.

This includes contacting the three drivers who are delivering groceries during the pandemic, she says, noting SOS is always looking for extra hands to help clients.

“Some of these people don’t have kids and they don’t have any family that can take care of them. It’s a little bit sad and we’re doing what we can, but they’re so appreciative,” says Baran, 60, who began volunteering at SOS after retiring from her job at a Bell call centre four years ago.

“Everybody that we’ve been calling, even if they don’t need anything, they just say, ‘Thank you very much for calling and making sure we’re OK.’ It’s a very good feeling to know that you’re helping.”

SOS vice-president Pam Witt, also a volunteer, says the office is getting fewer calls right now because services like rides to appointments, house cleaning and yard work have been suspended.

But she says volunteers are calling clients every three or four weeks to check on how they’re faring amid the pandemic.

“At lot of them are very, very anxious, don’t really understand what it’s all about, as (with) most of us,” Witt says.

“We’re just asking them if their situation has changed, if someone’s still getting their groceries, and just reassuring them that there’s somebody out there that’s caring about them.”

Anyone needing help or wishing to volunteer can call the SOS office at 905-643-1919 or email seniorsoutreach608@gmail.com.


STORY BEHIND THE STORY: With seniors particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus and advised to stay at home, we wanted to find Stoney Creek volunteers who are helping them keep safe during the pandemic.

 

Stoney Creek’s Seniors Outreach Services ‘lifeline’ for housebound seniors

#keepseniorssafe

News Apr 24, 2020 by Richard Leitner Stoney Creek News

Like many seniors, Helga Michel is heeding calls to stay at home during the coronavirus pandemic.

But the widow says she’s only able to do so thanks to Stoney Creek’s Seniors Outreach Services, whose volunteers do her grocery shopping.

Michel, 80, says she first contacted SOS four years ago when her husband began having health problems and could no longer drive her anywhere.

When he died last summer, the agency took on an even more critical role in her life, arranging for volunteers to do chores like grass cutting and raking leaves that her husband always did.

Related Content

Trips to appointments and the grocery store have been suspended due to the pandemic, so she relies on the food deliveries.

“Since my husband passed away, the SOS has been my lifeline. Whenever I need anything as far as groceries are concerned, somebody picks up the list and delivers the groceries to the back door,” Michel says.

“It’s been a tremendous help. I can’t tell you how grateful I am. I wouldn’t be able to be in my house if I didn’t have the SOS.”

Norma Rookwood, who began volunteering at SOS last July after seeing an ad in the newspaper, says she’s happy to do grocery shopping, choosing times early in the day or after the evening rush when there are no lineups to get in stores.

The retired Hamilton public school office administrator says she takes necessary precautions when shopping and limits her interaction with clients on grocery runs to dropping off the food and collecting payment.

Rookwood, 64, says she has five regular clients and calls one every week just to chat and help lessen the stress induced by the pandemic.

Conversations can go on for 50 minutes and she mostly just listens, she says.

“It doesn’t take anything to make a phone call,” Rookwood says, noting one of the reasons she began volunteering with SOS was the realization she might be in her clients’ shoes one day.

“I love it. I’ve met really interesting people, really nice people. Some of them are just people who want to talk,” she says. “They want someone to listen and (there’s) no judgment.”

The pandemic closed SOS’s headquarters at the Saltfleet Community Centre on Highway 8 on March 24, but office volunteer Joanne Baran is helping to monitor phone messages and maintain contact with its 600 clients.

This includes contacting the three drivers who are delivering groceries during the pandemic, she says, noting SOS is always looking for extra hands to help clients.

“Some of these people don’t have kids and they don’t have any family that can take care of them. It’s a little bit sad and we’re doing what we can, but they’re so appreciative,” says Baran, 60, who began volunteering at SOS after retiring from her job at a Bell call centre four years ago.

“Everybody that we’ve been calling, even if they don’t need anything, they just say, ‘Thank you very much for calling and making sure we’re OK.’ It’s a very good feeling to know that you’re helping.”

SOS vice-president Pam Witt, also a volunteer, says the office is getting fewer calls right now because services like rides to appointments, house cleaning and yard work have been suspended.

But she says volunteers are calling clients every three or four weeks to check on how they’re faring amid the pandemic.

“At lot of them are very, very anxious, don’t really understand what it’s all about, as (with) most of us,” Witt says.

“We’re just asking them if their situation has changed, if someone’s still getting their groceries, and just reassuring them that there’s somebody out there that’s caring about them.”

Anyone needing help or wishing to volunteer can call the SOS office at 905-643-1919 or email seniorsoutreach608@gmail.com.


STORY BEHIND THE STORY: With seniors particularly vulnerable to the coronavirus and advised to stay at home, we wanted to find Stoney Creek volunteers who are helping them keep safe during the pandemic.