SARATOGA COUNTY — Life hasn’t stopped at the Saratoga Senior Center despite the world’s lockdown. The doors are no longer open, but volunteers are practicing social distancing and going around the community to help some of its’ most vulnerable members.
“We’re providing [the senior citizen community] with groceries if they want or referring them to food pantries and things like that. So, we’re helping them in any way we can. We’re helping them cook, we’re delivering them toilet paper if they need, we can deliver puzzles, and games. We’re also working on getting as many masks delivered as possible because that’s the number one request and we’re having a hard time picking them up so we’re looking for people to donate masks as well. We’ve started doing spring clean up and yard work at this point for anybody who has a hard time getting out and needs some help with that,” explained Lois Celeste, executive director.
The senior center has also been offering online Zoom classes and one on ones via phone with volunteers to teach the community how to use and utilize Zoom, social media, and Facebook Live.
“Our goal is to reach out to all seniors in the county and communities and help out if they need it. The big thing is getting the word out. The Zoom programs have been really fun. We’re probably now up to about 15-20 different zoom classes each week and we’re seeing a huge audience. It’s so exciting,” she continued.
The center also has volunteers to help on on one to assist with the Census so people can do it online rather than wait.
“If people call our front desk, we can connect them and help them with any of these things,” she said.
The center is in need of more volunteers and more face masks.
“Obviously for the whole world, this is the new normal and what is that going to look like? And for us, we work with the most vulnerable, we’re very much an essential service and in many ways the volunteers out there are kind of front line. It’s everybody’s goal to get everyone to stay at home but especially to get the seniors to stay at home because they’re independent and it’s okay they do things on their own but we’re trying to get them not to grocery shop and let us help them. They are at risk, it is so critical. I don’t know what will happen as far as the center opening so we’re going to keep going with virtual programming and helping people. Eventually, as the community opens up, we will look at what is safe and responsible to do with seniors for opening up. Some day we’ll be open but i don’t know how long that will be,” Celeste stated.ssc