There is a residence for seniors in New York City called Vista on 5th. Here seniors occupy the 127 units of a 5th Avenue high rise that looks out over Central Park. They enjoy access to a library, hair salon, meditation room, access to computers, an outdoor garden and the 14th floor dining room. Vista on 5th is an assisted living facility and an agency of Catholic Charities of New York.
After the arrival of the Coronavirus, restrictions on visitors and outings have left seniors in similar residences across the country feeling isolated and alone. Vista on 5th’s, Recreation Director, Nicole Picariello, addressed the unprecedented challenge.“To shield residents from the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), we have been forced to change course from encouraging social interaction to discouraging it, including bans on social events and visitation. Limiting social contact certainly makes sense in response to a deadly and easily transferred virus, but the loneliness of isolation comes with health risks of its own. It’s more important than ever to reach out to the elderly with a sense of human connection.” And she did.
Being a part of the family of Agencies at Catholic Charities of New York, Nicole connected with the Junior Board of the Volunteer arm of Catholic Charities. Together they put together the Adopt-A-Grandparent program.
Volunteers from Catholic Charities sign on and get paired with seniors at Vista on 5th. They use phone or video chats or internetto connect with each other. Volunteers are encouraged to share fun stories, discuss books, or put on a talent show. These 1-hour long conversations are a priceless social activity during this time of isolation.
The Adopt-A-Grandparent Program started in early April in response to the social restrictions imposed by the Coronavirus. The program is active now and will remain active indefinitely.
If you or members of your parish community would be interested in volunteering for this program, visit Catholic Charities Volunteers and express your interest. The coordinator of the program on the Catholic Charities Volunteer side is Christina Perez. She will guide you through the steps to get you started.
The Coronavirus has presented our society with a number of challenges it wasn’t prepared for. Here in New York City especially, times have been really tough and we have all felt tragedy to some degree. The heaviness of this crisis can be damaging to mental and spiritual health, especially when coupled with isolation and an inability to share one’s feelings or find relief. But Catholic Charities and its Federation of 90 agencies are making every effort to not only address these new needs, but maintain the level of support it has been providingNew Yorkers for over 100 years.
Adopt-a-Grandparent today and bring light to someone’s life.