Westside Pacific Villages
WPV CARES: Addressing Loneliness and Isolation Among Vulnerable Seniors
Nearly 50% of seniors report feeling lonely on a regular basis, increasing risks for functional decline and death. As these problems worsened through the pandemic, WPV CARES expanded essential services to keep seniors physically, socially, mentally, and emotionally healthy. Unfortunately, there is no vaccine for the loneliness epidemic, and it continues to plague older Americans. With the LA2050 grant, WPV CARES can continue serving and expanding as one of the few solutions to loneliness for many vulnerable and isolated seniors in Los Angeles.
Describe the mission of your organization.
Westside Pacific Villages empowers people to better navigate the changes and opportunities that come with living longer. With compassion, dignity, and respect, WPV helps seniors remain active and independent as they age in the comfort of their own homes. Our efforts improve the quality of life of our members, and by extension enhance the community.
In which areas of Los Angeles will you be directly working?
- South LA
- South Bay
What is the problem that you are seeking to address?
WPV strives to keep seniors physically healthy and emotionally well. Currently, our programs are focused on helping seniors remain safely at home, so as to reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19. Given our members’ vulnerabilities, including their age, health conditions, and other complicating factors, this is critical. We are also cognizant of the toll isolation takes: loneliness is a serious health threat. While it has been exacerbated by the pandemic, older Americans have been in the midst of a loneliness crisis long before this year. Isolated seniors have a 45% greater risk of death and other health emergencies, increased stress, and higher rates of depression/cognitive decline. According to the APA, loneliness can be as damaging as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, an even greater public health hazard than obesity! The HRSA states that 43% of older adults regularly feel lonely. Though the pandemic will subside, loneliness and a lack of connection will remain a concern for our seniors.
Describe the project, program, or initiative that this grant will support to address the problem identified.
WPV CARES provides seniors with necessary services as well as connection and emotional support. The program currently offers: 1. Contactless delivery of groceries and other essentials 2. Transportation to and from necessary medical appointments 3. P.P.E. and proven educational wellness materials 4. Virtual activities 5. Weekly check-in calls through our CAN (Call a Neighbor) program 6. Individual technology training to guarantee that our virtual events are accessible. 7. Weekly delivery of special care packages. To counteract loneliness in this challenging time, we’ve created ways to engage and connect with our elderly neighbors without risking their health, including telephone check-ins, virtual activities, socially-distanced visits, and Friday special care package deliveries that seniors look forward to each week. WPV CARES is freely available to any senior and is rapidly growing. As the pandemic subsides, WPV CARES will evolve, allowing us to continue addressing the important needs of our seniors as they change. We currently have prepared a program to ensure that all our seniors received the COVID-19 vaccine. We will organize appointments and provide transportation to and from a health care provider for all our seniors.
In what stage of innovation is this project, program, or initiative?Expand existing project, program, or initiative (expanding and continuing ongoing, successful work)
Approximately how many people will be impacted by this project, program, or initiative?
- Direct impact
- Indirect impact
Describe how Los Angeles County will be different if your work is successful.
WPV envisions a future in which individuals and organizations/groups come together to share the mission of assisting the oldest residents in our community to age with grace, dignity, and respect. Seniors in Los Angeles will not be cast aside to be forgotten, left to sit alone in isolation, or sent off to facilities/institutions. Instead, through our many program benefits and the skill, talents, time, and generosity of WPV’s staff and many volunteers, senior citizens will continue to enjoy the places they call home in the neighborhoods they love. In addition to receiving support, older adults will find meaning and purpose in the latter stages of their life by giving back to WPV and others in ways that suit them. As part of a growing national movement of villages, WPV represents the future of aging and how communities will come together to ensure the oldest in our community are not overlooked or forgotten but continue to receive the respect and attention they deserve.
What evidence do you have that this project, program, or initiative is or will be successful, and how will you define and measure success?
WPV CARES launched in March 2020; the program will continue as we transition our seniors back to “normal” life. We currently measure impact as follows: -Track services provided, maintaining data on service request types, date completed, time spent and as applicable, miles driven. Since the onset of COVID-19, our team of 300+ volunteers has provided 8,000 services to 200 members. Since 2010, we have completed 50,000+ service requests, and 1,500+ volunteers have served 75,000 hours. -Ensure that seniors (who have requested it) receive at least one weekly phone call throughout the pandemic. -Ensure that seniors (who have requested it) receive one-on-one, socially distanced at-home technology training. -Ensure 95% of ride requests (to necessary medical appointments) are filled. -Ensure 95% of contactless grocery delivery requests are filled. -Ensure 95% of members receive a weekly care package (not all request one). -Ensure over 90% of members receive PPE and educational health materials.
Which of the live metrics will you impact?
- Healthcare access
- Resilient communities
- Older adult well-being
Indicate any additional LA2050 goals your project will impact.
- LA is the best place to LEARN
- LA is the healthiest place to CONNECT
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