New acquaintances and friendships are blossoming. Sally Lenz, call team member said this project was a step out of her comfort zone. Chaplain, Marsha Purtell, Elizabeth Newell, Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Destiny Helms, Director of Independent Living have mobilized a group of volunteer callers including Lenz. There are 35 volunteers. These volunteers are made up of the three employees listed and approximately 35 Independent Living Residents.
The call is a daily check in. The callers check on the physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being of our neighbors. The callers are instructed that It is not a time to pry. The call is voluntary to the recipient, but it is a way to keep in touch and not feel isolated. Purtell says, “we are in the business of assisting members of our community to THRIVE. They have always been thriving educators, entrepreneurs, business leaders, church leaders, and continue to be a gift to our community. We do not want in any way to diminish any independence that is not mandated to each of us.” The recipients are also asked by the caller assigned to them to please call and check on me, if you don’t receive my call. The volunteers and those being called all agree that, “we are in this together.”
The callers ask questions like, “How was your dinner?” “Do you need any groceries?” “What are you doing for fun?” “Are you feeling well?” “Do you have all the medications you need?” “Do you need a puzzle, a book, art supplies, stationary, or something else to occupy your time?” “Are you finding time for spiritual renewal?” “Are you reaching out to other people in your faith community?” “Do you need devotional materials or devotional websites?” “Have you been outside to see the beautiful spring flowers?” “How is your family?” If they just need to talk and vent, the volunteers say, that’s fine too.
Lenz said that occasionally, she found that a Resident might not be aware of something going on such as Wednesday morning breakfast. She has been able to find answers to questions on some occasions and says, “that’s been a positive thing.” Lenz also says, “yes! definitely getting to know these ladies whom I didn’t know before. And — I really do like them! That’s been fun. They all seem truly happy to be at Epworth; they think management is doing a good job in a tough situation; one lady was hoping that we would get through this whole pandemic without a single case of Covid 19 at Epworth! I’ve heard about kids and grandkids and such, have found commonalities among us, and sorta’ marvel that they truly don’t seem to mind my calling them every single day! Oh, and one lady and I were, just today, talking about how we couldn’t wait to go to a grocery store again! A ‘chore’ we agreed that, in normal pre-lock down times, could be a bit of a burden.”