When NCS Senior Centers closed in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NCS, DFS and other HHS staff pivoted to meet the immediate needs of older adults – they began delivering weekly meals to participants who would typically eat their meals at Senior Centers. Now, over one year later, NCS staff have delivered over 500,000 meals through the program.
Jennae Asborno, Operations Manager for Region 3, recently delivered a meal to Anna Hilda Ifante, a longtime Sully Senior Center participant. Asborno praised the NCS team’s quick setup of meal deliveries, saying, “Despite everyone’s concerns about their health and safety within the pandemic, the team jumped on the buses that very next week after centers closed and began delivering meals.” The team implemented best practices to ensure everyone’s safety. These included social distancing, delivering to the door rather than going inside homes, using personal protective equipment, and employing only one runner and one driver on a 22-passenger bus to deliver the meals.
While the meal delivery program addressed food needs, during meal drop-off staff also began to discover that older adults were experiencing a range of physical, mental and social issues while self-isolating. To address these challenges, NCS implemented a wellness check program, provided resources to navigate county services, and produced weekly activity packs. All of these services have helped older adults navigate this past year while staying connected with center staff.
Said Asborno, “Our staff are the most dedicated, hard-working, and flexible individuals I know. I am so very proud of what we’ve accomplished this past year. These older adults rely on us to be their lifeline and seeing the smiles on their face each week has been rewarding. For most, this was the only face-to-face interaction they may have had this past year.”
Home delivered meals, wellness assessments, and welfare check-ins were a few of the initiatives identified in July 2020 as part of the COVID-19 Response Plan for Older Adults. View the response plan to learn more about the continued efforts by Fairfax County to help care for our most vulnerable population in this pandemic and continue our mission to help them age with dignity.