Aging with Dignity through COVID-19
Meeting Human Service Needs During a Global Pandemic
We can't thank you enough for taking the steps to protect the folks we work with every day -- those who are 65 and older or suffer with a chronic disease. Because of your support and partnership, we continue to serve older adults in Baltimore City through these uncertain times.
The COVID-19 global pandemic has caused distress for many of us, especially our aging neighbors and their families. It's an honor to be a source of food, medical supplies, information, and emotional support. We have seen a 75% increase in demand for our emergency funds and services since the end of March. We don't expect the increased demand to subside soon.
Your generous gifts support families like the Forresters, a married couple in their early 70s. The Forresters have withstood financial crises and a grave cancer diagnosis for Mr. Forrester, but have remained a strong support system for their three sons and their families.
The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown yet another wrench in the Forresters' lives. Last year, Mrs. Forrester started working part-time, and their family lost access to certain government programs. They were grateful for the help when they needed it, but Mr. Forrester was happy to lose medical and food benefits for "someone else who needed it more." However, this April, Mrs. Forrester lost work, and the family could not afford Mr. Forrester's new heart medication without the extra money.
When he tried to call his "old programs," he found long waits and instructions to complete the application online. Fiercely self-sufficient, Mr. Forrester was embarrassed that he once again needed support. In our regular COVID-19 wellness calls, our case manager Fred called Mr. Forrester and heard the distress in his voice. Their trusted relationship was built over years, and Mr. Forrester confided in Fred. We helped Mr. Forrester with the online applications and coached him to talk to his doctor about free samples. SMOC used our emergency fund to get him the other medical supplies he needed and closely monitored his stimulus check status to ease his concerns about the loss of his wife's income. When he confirmed the receipt of his stimulus check, Fred heard him choke up over the phone: "After I had cancer, I promised myself that I would do anything I could to protect my family from that worry again. I couldn't burden them with my stress about the Eliquis or loss of income; with your help, I solved the problem without worrying them. I can't thank you enough."