These are trying times for our world, our country and our bucolic town of Easton. COVID-19 knows no demographic and you do not have to contract it to be affected by it, or impacted by this pandemic. Our seniors are at risk due to their age and possible health issues, but I am here to say that many of our town’s seniors are doing well, staying at home and even learning to Zoom!
Easton is a small town with a generous community, and many neighbors and friends have been looking out for their elderly neighbors, which is amazing. There are also the residents who have been furloughed, or may even have lost a job, which is also a hardship for the entire family. The kids home from college are adapting to life at home and a loss of independence they had at school, and are beginning to worry if they will return in the fall.
The school-age kids have just learned that they are not going back for the remainder of this year and it is heartbreaking for the teachers, athletes, and the seniors who were looking forward to prom, graduation and all of the graduation celebrations. We are all impacted by the coronavirus and even those of us who are working remotely miss that daily interaction with our co-workers and clientele.
The Town of Easton’s Municipal Agent for the Aging (MAA) and Social Services Department are here for you. Some of you may have gotten a letter in the mail from me, or gone on the town of Easton’s website eastonct.gov and read about the programs that we are offering, but to those of you who might not have seen any of this information, here it is.
Grocery Bags for Seniors through the Southwestern Agency on Aging
• The program is for residents ages 60+
• A Form 5 (government required) application must be completed for roster and distribution purposes. This form is simple and there are two ways to do it 1) call me, 203-268-1137, and I will fill it out over the phone (there’s nothing to sign) or 2) call SWCAA at 1-800-994-9422 and press prompt 3
• The bags would be delivered to the Easton Senior Center parking lot and either picked up or delivered to your door
• The five-day grocery bag will include butter, eggs, American cheese, fresh fruit and vegetables, pasta, rice, bread, oatmeal and two rolls of toilet paper
• Safety protocols will be taken at the delivery site as well as the distribution site
If you are interested in signing up for this program, or you know someone who might benefit from this program, please let me know. This does not eliminate the need to shop at the grocery store, nor does it interfere with any established home meal delivery programs, but it would supplement your groceries, and possibly reduce the number of trips to the stores that friends, neighbors or family members are doing for you.
Black Rock Church Drive Thru Meals
For the whole month of May, the Black Rock Church is providing free hot meals every Monday and Wednesday between 5-5:30 p.m. If you are in need, come pick up a meal, or deliver one to someone you know who could use it. No sign up is necessary. Volunteers will package the hot meal as you arrive and drive through in the church parking lot (Black Rock Church, 3685 Black Rock Turnpike, Fairfield, CT 06825). The goal is to simply help people in need during this time, so anyone is welcome to participate. Volunteers will follow safety guidelines wearing gloves and masks, and will bring the meal out to each car. See you at the drive-thru!
I also have a small food “closet” which has non-perishable items such as pasta, soups, canned fruits and vegetables, and other miscellaneous items. The Congregational Church of Easton has been donating and replenishing the closet’s supply and for that I am extremely grateful. There are other resources such as the Easton Village Store, Sherwood Farms, Sport Hill Farm, the Blue Bird restaurant and Greiser’s Coffee & Market, all of which are offering curbside pick, meals and groceries.
Taking care of yourself and your emotional wellbeing is more important than ever, and so if you can get outside and exercise that is paramount to good mental health. Explore the trails of the Aspetuck Land Trust or just take a walk down your street. Phone calls, good old fashioned letter writing, and Zoom or FaceTime are great ways to stay connected to family and friends.
No Cost Mental Health Resources
There is support out there and resources available to you and your kids. Visit The Hub, which is a Behavioral Health Action Organization for Southwestern CT. For more information contact:
• The United Way of Connecticut (211) provides counseling support for those in need. Call them anytime.
• The Crisis text line can be reached by texting Talk to 741-741.
• The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) has valuable resources available (afsp.org/covid19).
• The Salvation Army has set up an Emotional and Spiritual Care Hotline for anyone that needs a listening ear. Anyone in the U.S. can call 844- 458-HOPE (4673) from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. EDT, seven days a week. Trained Salvation Army Officers are available to talk, advise, and pray for individuals, families and situations.
I have an active list of mental health providers in the area who either accept Husky and other major insurance plans. Please note that insurance companies are presently covering telehealth services. In some cases they are waiving co-payments and making adjustments toward the deductible. Please call your insurance carrier to find out more information. Husky and Medicare are allowing telehealth services as long as the provider is paneled with them.
The list I have includes local as well as therapists whose location is further away since some people may feel more comfortable with that option. Please note that I am not specifically recommending therapists only on this list, but these are the providers that reached out to me saying please add me to the list of resources since they are actively accepting clients at this moment for telehealth. Please reach out to me if you would like me to send or email you this list of providers.
You can reach me, Alison Witherbee, MSW, at firstname.lastname@example.org or call me at 203-268-1137. Although I am working remotely I will get back to you and answer any questions you might have, or point you in the direction you need to go.
We will get through this. Be well and stay safe!