Family Eldercare is continuing to serve, and we’re adjusting our operations to protect our clients and staff during this rapidly evolving public health situation.  We are so grateful to our funders and partners who have reached out to give us as much flexibility as possible to provide care and stability during this time.  We encourage those who want to help to make a gift to the area of greatest need.

We want to stay in communication during this rapidly evolving public health situation and keep you updated on our latest efforts.

FEBRUARY

As millions of Texans faced the devastating impact of severe winter storms throughout the last week, many without access to critical utilities such as power, heat, and potable water, Family Eldercare staff have been working diligently to provide support, stability and access to basic needs for thousands of older adults throughout our local communities. Through donations of food, water, basic needs items, and more, our supporters both throughout Texas, as well as nationally, have stepped up to help us ensure that we’re able to provide these critical resources for as many people in need throughout Austin area communities as possible. Here are a few highlights of our impact so far:

  • 1500+ meals donated by community supporters
  • Thousands of wellness and safety check-in calls and visits
  • Over $5000 raised in 4 hours through DJ’s Mel’s Living Room Dance Party
  • Over $50k raised for food, water, basic needs, repairs and resource connections

The storms may have passed, but the work continues with many more still in need of support. You can help us continue our efforts by donating here.


JANUARY

Family Eldercare believes everyone who needs a COVID-19 vaccine should get one. We are focused on ensuring high-risk older adults and adults with disabilities receive the information, resources, and support they need to get vaccinated. Click here for more information on vaccine access and community resources.


DECEMBER (2020)

Nominations for 80 Over Eighty are now closed. A huge thank you to those who nominated inspiring people over 80 years young. We are enjoying reading and selecting the stories that will be shared during our virtual celebration on March 25, 2021. We will be posting updates on  https://www.80over80.org/  


NOVEMBER (2020)

A partnership between the Ending Community Homelessness Coalition (ECHO) and Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) will provide over $2 million in funding to our community. As Austin reels from another wave of COVID-19 cases, this funding will be used to support Rapid Rehousing programs to help get people off the streets and into safe housing away from crowded shelters. 


OCTOBER (2020)

Family Eldercare has recently been awarded two grants to assist with COVID-19 related housing and financial assistance. 

The first a grant from the City of Austin to assist with community outreach among residents in need of financial assistance but who have not been able to access funding.  

The second is a joint grant from the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs (TDHCA) and Austin Public Health (APH), which will allow us to serve residents through our Rapid Rehousing and homeless prevention services. 


SEPTEMBER (2020)

The City of Austin selected El Buen Samaritano and Family Independence Initiative (FII) to assist with operating a phone bank and a centralized application and distribution process for Relief in a State of Emergency (RISE) 2.0 funds. All funds will be distributed by Oct. 30, 2020. On September 14, 2020 the application opened for RISE 2.0 emergency assistance for those who are facing financial hardships due to COVID-19.  The application will close on September 21, 2020 and funds will be distributed in $2,000 increments per household based on a randomized selection process.  

  Application Process   

  • Sept. 8-Oct 2: The phone bank at El Buen Samaritano is open from 7 a.m.-7 p.m. [512-714-6950] to answer any questions from the public.  
  • Sept. 14: Households can start the application process online or through the phone bank. The online application form will be available in English and Spanish. The phone bank will be available in multiple languages.  
  • Online Portal: https://fund.uptogether.org/rise2  
  • Sept. 21: Last day for households to apply. Applications must be submitted by 7 p.m. on this date.  
  • Sept. 23-Oct. 19: The randomized application selection process will be completed, and applicants will be notified of whether or not they were selected.  
  • Sept. 23-Oct. 30: Funds will be distributed to the chosen applicants.  

AUGUST (2020)

The City of Austin has allocated $10,000,000 in Relief in a State of Emergency (RISE) 2.0 funds to be used to support individuals in Austin and Travis County. RISE 2.0 funds come after the original $15 million of RISE funds were awarded to 20 non-profits and social services agencies in May and June. Most of the funds distributed to the original 20 agencies have been exhausted. While the original RISE funds were distributed to social services agencies, RISE 2.0 funds will be distributed directly to individuals who apply and are chosen through a randomized selection process. Chosen applicants will receive $2,000 per household. 


July 10, 2020

The Fan Drop-Off Parade was a huge success. Our Central Texas neighbors dropped off more than 1,000 fans at four participating Honda dealerships. The Summer Fan Drive warehouse had run out of fans the day before the event and the donated fans were immediately distributed to people in our waiting list. Our community has raised nearly $250,000 in our efforts to provide fans and other services to our elderly neighbors, children, families affected by COVID-19 layoffs, and persons with disabilities.


July 1, 2020

Family Eldercare was thrilled to hear that our Keep Austin Together partnership was extended through June.  We delivered 1,476 fresh prepared meals to clients experiencing food insecurity this month!


June 30, 2020

Family Eldercare is distributing COVID-19 Relief In a State of Emergency (RISE) funds to provide immediate direct services and assistance to vulnerable residents affected by COVID-19.  We are excited to report that In the last three weeks, Family Eldercare has provided aid to 125 families from Travis and Williamson counties affected by COVID-19. More than $86,000 in gift cards and direct financial aid has been distributed to help pay for necessities such as groceries, rent, and utilities.  We are grateful to the City of Austin for making this resource available to assist our neighbors affected by the pandemic.


May 31, 2020

Family Eldercare has partnered with Keep Austin Together to provide fresh prepared meals to our clients who are experiencing food insecurity.  We kicked off the program on May 18th, and our Service Coordinators and Case Managers delivered 732 fresh prepared meals in May!  This partnership has been especially helpful for supporting clients who need assistance with preparing their meals or those who were on wait-lists for meal delivery through other community programs.


May 18, 2020

The Summer Fan Drive launched early this year with a new No Contact format for the safety of our clients and staff.  We’re adapting in other ways too, and are so grateful for our local artist partners DJ Mel and Joel Laviolette for their help with our very first virtual fundraisers.  Thanks to the success of the events this past weekend, we have placed our second bulk order of fans of the season.


April 27, 2020

Family Eldercare’s Guardianship program is the proud recipient of 2020 funding from Texas Bar Foundation to support expanding access to advance care planning services for lower income Texans at low to no cost.  Advance care planning can bring a sense of peace for individuals and their loved ones by providing guidance and direction in the event of a life-altering emergency or at end of life.  However, not everyone has the same access to information or legal services to help develop this important documentation.  Family Eldercare plans to launch this new program in late summer 2020.  Read more here.


April 7th, 2020

Lifetime Connections Without Walls Special COVI​D-19 Session: Coping During This Difficult Time

Thursdays, beginning April 16

10:30 am (CT)

We are living through an unprecedented time due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Join us for this special session on how to cope during this difficult period. Christine Schumacher will facilitate this session. Christine is a master’s-level intern with Family Eldercare and a graduate student at the University of Texas School of Social Work.

Facilitated by Christine Schumacher/Family Eldercare

Click here to register for Lifetime Connections Without Walls Spring sessions.


April 1st, 2020

Texas Health and Human Services has launched a 24/7 statewide mental health support line to help Texans experiencing anxiety, stress or emotional challenges due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

This new resource offers COVID-19-related mental health support for all Texans. People can call the Statewide COVID-19 Mental Health Support Line 24 hours a day, 7 days a week toll-free at 833-986-1919.


March 27, 2020

BREAKING: Due to rising temperatures & increasing utility costs for our elderly neighbors and families sheltering inside their homes, Family Eldercare will be mobilizing the Summer Fan Drive early this year. Right now, the biggest impact you can make is to donate toward our bulk purchase of fans so that we can ensure sheltering remains safe for those who cannot afford, or do not have, AC. As we continue our efforts to better protect and ensure basic needs are met for our clients, we’re asking for additional donations of the following critically needed items:

  • Hand sanitizer
  • Paper towels and toilet paper
  • Incontinence supplies
  • Gift cards to Walmart, HEB, and/or Amazon

Donations can either be shipped to our office or delivered directly to our warehouse at 1700 Rutherford Ln. (78754) from 8a-12p Monday-Friday.


March 23, 2020

As an essential service provider, all of us at Family Eldercare have been preparing for the possibility of a shelter in place order.  Whether that is issued today or in the future, our services continue.

Our immediate concerns for clients are addressing food security, educating them on the rapidly evolving situation, and coordinating services.   During these challenging times, our homelessness prevention services, therapeutic counseling, in-home care and isolation prevention programs are critical.  As we quickly shift our delivery model, current regulations prevent reimbursement for many remote services.  We are moving forward with providing these services even when it limits our access to some of our current funding sources.

You have joined us in protecting, caring, and maintaining connection for the older adults and adults with disabilities we serve.  Thank you.  For those who wish to help, we are grateful for gifts that allow us to be flexible in responding to the area of greatest need so that we can continue to take action where necessary during this public health crisis.


March 18th, 2020

Take action to prevent benefit lapses during COVID-19.

Family Eldercare is reaching out to our representatives and advocacy partners to encourage state leaders to automatically renew nutrition, health, basic need, and support service benefits for seniors and adults with disabilities during the coronavirus pandemic, and we encourage you to take action as well.

For most Texas households the renewal period is every six months.  During this public health emergency, we are recommending our state leaders extend the eligibility period for all currently approved benefits through the end of the 2020 calendar year.  We also recommend fast-tracking new and pending applications.

While our community is rallying to reduce face-to-face contact to flatten the curve, we want to prevent seniors and adults with disabilities from losing access to their supplemental nutrition, Medicaid, and other HHSC benefits.

 

FIND YOUR REPRESENTATIVES

SAMPLE LETTER TO YOUR REPRESENTATIVES


March 17th, 2020

Our services continue, and we are conducting phone-based outreach to clients to assess their preparedness for COVID-19 and determine their emergent needs.

Today, we want to focus on these five areas of concern:

  1. Family Eldercare’s Response
  2. Seniors & Social Isolation Special Call to Action
  3. Supporting Older Adults in Your Life
  4. Flattening the Curve
  5. Beware of Scams

Family Eldercare’s Response

Family Eldercare is committed to adjusting our service delivery model to protect the health and well-being of our clients and staff.  In general, our aim is to continue to be available to those we serve, although how we serve, may look different during this time.

Some immediate steps we have taken:

  • Closing our physical office to all non-staff members effective March 18, 2020 until further notice. We can be reached by phone during regular business hours at 512-450-0844.
  • Reducing or suspending in-person contact with our clients and the public in favor of phone-based contact.
  • Surveying our clients to determine individual, immediate, and emerging needs during this time.
  • Expanding our phone-based Lifetime Connections Without Walls sessions and seeking new partners to provide relevant updates for older adults.
  • Exploring alternative work projects to meet emerging needs and help hourly employees maintain their work hours.

Older Adults & Social Isolation

The Dilemma: The CDC recommends older adults stay home to protect themselves against the coronavirus. At the same time, we know social isolation is an existing concern for some older adults. Increased social isolation may mean more older adults will have increased feelings of loneliness and depression.

What Family Eldercare is doing: To combat social isolation, Family Eldercare offers our phone-based program that can be enjoyed from the comfort of home: Lifetime Connections Without Walls (LCWW). In addition to social and educational sessions, we will be adding special programming on COVID-19 for older adults.  LCWW is designed for older adults ages 55+.

Services in additional languages are offered by our partner Without Walls programs:

CALL TO ACTION: Here’s how you can help:

Supporting Older Adults in Your Life

Here’s what YOU can do to support older adults in your life:

  • Check in on your elder neighbors and loved ones
  • Know what medications your loved one is taking & help them refill online or go to drive thru pick up for them
  • Monitor food and other medical supplies (oxygen, incontinence, dialysis, wound care) needed and create a plan to keep them well stocked
  • Older adults and those with suppressed immune systems SHOULD stock up on non-perishable food items to have on hand to minimize trips to stores. If you are not in a high-risk group, please don’t stockpile.
  • If your loved one is in a care facility no longer accepting visitors, keep in contact by phone, email, or facetime. Know the protocol of that facility if there is an outbreak.

Flatten the Curve

All of us have a role to play to flatten the curve of the coronavirus. Younger, low-risk Central Texans can protect our elderly and medically fragile neighbors who are most at risk for poor outcomes if they contract COVID-19.

  1. Stay home and away from other people as much as possible
  2. Work from home if you can
  3. Maintain a 6-ft distance if you have to be around others
  4. Use drive-thru, pick-up, or delivery options rather than going out to eat or drink
  5. Avoid unnecessary travel, shopping trips, or social visits
  6. Wash your hands frequently, especially after touching frequently used items and surfaces
  7. Avoid touching your face
  8. Sneeze or cough into a tissue or the inside of your elbow
  9. Disinfect items and surfaces frequently

Beware of Scams

Unfortunately, there are scammers trying to take advantage of fears surrounding the coronavirus. The  Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has identified several. Keep up with the latest FTC news here.

A few quick reminders:

  • Don’t click on unknown email links
  • Ignore offers on vaccinations or other products claiming to combat coronavirus
  • Use trusted sources—such as legitimate, government websites—for up-to-date, fact-based information about COVID-19.

Do your homework on charities or crowdfunding campaigns before you donate. Make sure to research the organization first through an independent charity rating service such as Charity Navigator.