Keiro has been conducting regional meetings in our service area, bringing together various local community partners that serve the older adults in the area. These meetings, known as Keiro’s Nikkei Senior Network, have allowed us to share how community partners have been serving the older adults as this pandemic forced everyone to stay at home. While shifting these meetings to a virtual format, Keiro has been able to share information and resources that may benefit their older members and the community partners. Keiro is truly fortunate to be able to work with these community partners. Here are some of our community partners in action:
Pasadena Nikkei Seniors
Pasadena Nikkei Seniors hold monthly lunches for the members at a nominal cost and the meals include either entertainment or the ever-popular Bingo. With the cancellation of the April lunch due to COVID-19, Ron and Jeannie Toshima; Ron and Cindy Dyo; and Scott Shinmoto decided to hold the lunch through delivery. With limited ability to provide many lunches, the committee prioritized this for the most vulnerable older adults first. On Saturday, April 11, the group cooked udon lunches for 30 members and with the help of several volunteer drivers delivered the lunches to their homes. All safety protocols and physical distancing rules were followed to deliver a delicious lunch.
The udon was donated by Gary Kawaguchi. They delivered again on April 26, and PNS is planning to continue these efforts during the month of May.
Orange County Japanese American Association (OCJAA)
At the start of Safer at Home, the 15 board members of OCJAA decided to make calls and check-in with 130 of their older adult members who are all age 80 and above. They currently periodically call the older adults. Many were doing well and staying healthy, and sometimes even the board member callers were encouraged by the energy and enthusiasm of the older adults. Meanwhile, some actually called back the board members the following day, needing someone to talk to.
In addition, OCJAA hosted a free course during the month of April to teach FaceTime and Zoom, which attracted close to 80 people. Starting May, they will host an online iPad/iPhone class as well as a Mac/PC class for older adults in Japanese to be able to stay connected. With just one week of announcing, over 30-40 people signed up for each class.
Gardena Buddhist Church
Cathy Uyemura, who is an instrumental part of helping out with the normally in-person Tuesday social gatherings at GBC, has helped switch the platform to a virtual gathering. In order to keep members engaged, Cathy has also combined the games of keno and Bingo into a “KENINGO” style game over email where members can interact in a new way. Many of the Tuesday Social women are also members of the BWA and through this organization, they stay connected via phone calls and home visits, if necessary.
Venice Japanese Community Center
With the closure of the community center, the senior nutrition program run by Jae Toyota at Venice Japanese Community Center has transformed into a “Grab-and-Go” lunch program operating Monday through Friday and providing delivery service to the homebound older adults in the area. Through their Facebook page and the website (vjcc.com), a team of partners and volunteers came together to help identify, inform, and engage the most vulnerable members of the community during this crisis.
In addition, the senior wellness coordinator, Gayle Hirami, makes calls to check in with the older adults to see how they are doing. She also asks them if they need any essential items such as hand soap, toilet paper, etc. Gayle also informs the seniors that exercise videos and handouts are posted on the VJCC website. Her main objective is to stay connected with the seniors during this time of uncertainty.
If you’d like to share how you are serving older adults in your community, please email us at [email protected].