YOUNGSTOWN – Direction Home of Eastern Ohio had to adopt innovative tactics last year to serve seniors and disabled individuals in Mahoning, Trumbull, Columbiana and Ashtabula counties.
When the pandemic began, staff were assigned to work from home. To stop the spread of COVID-19, in-person visits to consumers stopped, says Cassandra Valentini, agency community liaison.
“The staff was provided with remote server access and phones linked to their office line to eliminate missteps in the transition,” she says. “Each client was contacted weekly via phone and, with assistance from the Cares Act, new programming was offered to the community.”
The Youngstown-based organization, formerly the Area Agency on Aging, received funding to expand its home-delivered meal programs. More than 260,000 meals and nearly 17,500 grab-and-go meals were distributed to seniors, Valentini says.
With assistance from the Ohio Department of Aging, the agency provided 20,000 masks and funding to purchase items for StayHealthy Wellness Kits put together by the staff.
“These kits were provided to all our consumers and to community members during drive-thru health fairs and outdoor community events, Valentini says.