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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:

Cerritos Baptist Church

Dexter Yuen, the board chair at the church, shared that CBC’s volunteers are calling seniors once a week (or more if their needs warrant it). CBC first asked its members if they either needed help or were able to help; the response was overwhelming to support those in need. More than 30 members volunteered to help in one of three ways: making calls to those who are isolated; delivering food or running errands; praying for those in need. Next, they developed a list of most vulnerable people (MVPs) for their volunteers to serve. Then they put together call lists so that each MVP was linked to a specific volunteer. 

Continuing Education for the Nikkei Widowed

One challenge that older adults face is the lack of access to technology or the internet. In the case of CENW members, both are challenges that are aided by CENW President Sue Kawasaki’s efforts to connect the members through their phone tree system. CENW team leaders will call up to three people on a weekly or biweekly basis depending on their individual needs. Another way they are staying socially connected is through the monthly newsletters that are mailed out to the members.

East San Gabriel Valley Japanese Community Center

ESGVJCC started a meal pick-up and delivery program for all ESGVJCC seniors. The ESGVJCC Senior Wellness Program, which has been closed since March 11, would have normally met twice a week for activities, exercises, and a homemade meal. While practicing safe social distancing, seniors are able to pick up a free hot meal, made by a local small business, with an additional meal available for purchase for $3. During this time when older adults are being asked to stay home, this meal program also delivers the meals to seniors who cannot drive as well.

First Presbyterian Church, Altadena

First Presbyterian Church, Altadena now videos and produces their Sunday worship service online so that members and friends may continue to worship while staying safe at home. For those who do not have access to online worship, a condensed version of the Sunday message is printed and mailed in the weekly newsletter. They have also initiated a weekly Bible study through a free conference call line which does not require access to the internet nor a cell phone (a landline works too). This free conference call line can also be useful for scheduling social calls among friends who just want to occasionally chat and keep up the happenings of acquaintances.

Wintersburg Presbyterian Church

Each week, Wintersburg Presbyterian Church has online streaming of their worship service, prayer time, and Pastor’s Devotional. Claire Seki, Coordinator of the Senior Fellowship Ministry, share the links as well as Keiro news with their seniors. Members are also able to enjoy the Senior Fellowship Newsletter, available online on Friday, or by mail to those without internet access. The newsletter includes, but is not limited to, news about their Fellowship, prayer requests, a Devotional, Bible memory verses, illustrated exercises, discussions on health and safety issues, updates on what is available at the WPC weekly “ChowCare” food pantry distribution, and suggested activities to enrich their lives while sheltering at home. Further contact is made by the Calling Tree Committee. Birthdays and special occasions are celebrated with cheerful cards. In April, the WPC Men’s Ministry delivered fabric face masks to the seniors’ homes.

If you’d like to share how you are serving older adults in your community, please email us at [email protected].

To be continued to part 3

Read part 1