Adapting is something we older adults have figured out how to do. Let’s face it: life demands that we go along with changes that are out of our control. Fighting changes that are thrust upon us just uses up the energy that could go toward the more productive response of adapting.
As an essential social services agency, Community Thread has had to adapt as well during this pandemic. When we were directed to work from home, our caring team of employees continued to find ways to meet our mission of keeping people engaged, enriched and connected. And our dedicated volunteers stepped up to offer assistance to anyone requesting help.
We reached out to older adults to ask if they needed support accessing groceries or supplies, and matched people requesting help to volunteers. Our stalwart team of drivers and chore service volunteers remained available to assist as needed. To try to reduce isolation, volunteers and staff made check in calls, while Community Thread offered interactive experiences on our website.
But we know people need face-to-face interaction to feel connected. Now that the community is starting to reopen, we have put together a plan of how we can offer programs and experiences that will help older adults connect outside of their homes while still staying safe.
Pending no additional changes to the Stay Safe Order, Older Adult Programs at Community Thread that can practice social distancing will resume on June 1 with some new guidelines to help protect both staff and participants:
• Pre-registration will be required for all activities.
• There will be a maximum of 10 people per indoor event.
• Participants will be screened and required to wear a protective mask during indoor activities.
• We continue to offer in-home chore services and rides to medical appointments. Volunteers and service recipients have been provided with guidelines to help ensure everyone’s safety.
While our popular aerobics class is cancelled until further notice, we are excited to announce a new Walking Club that will meet at our Stillwater location on Monday and Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. Walkers will go in groups of two, and no masks are required. Additional outdoor activities and gatherings will be considered if the event can accommodate social distancing and other safety protocols.
At Community Thread, our goal is to help older adults stay connected - whether that is by providing resources, programs or services - while keeping in mind the safety of our participants, volunteers and staff. Let’s walk this fine line together, adapting as we go.
Please reach out to us if you need support. You may learn more at CommunityThreadMN.org about our programs and activities, or give us a call at 651-439-7434. We hope to see you soon.
Sally Anderson is the executive director of Community Thread in Stillwater.