COVID-19 is impacting every aspect of life for people all ages, including the elderly, who may struggle with isolation.
Before the pandemic shut down Summit County Adult Day Services -- a ministry of Catholic Charities, Diocese of Cleveland -- in March, about 100 people, ages 75-85, were part of the Akron-based program that offered a variety of activities and socialization opportunities for senior citizens. Monday through Friday, they would arrive at the former St. Peter School on Biruta Street where participants were divided into four groups, based on their abilities. With input from the participants, the staff planned programs they enjoyed and wanted to participate in, said Jim Mazzagatti, who has directed the program for 33 years. Established in 1977, it is the oldest such program in Summit County.
Participants with higher levels of engagement enjoyed talking about the news and current events, listening to music, dancing, participating in exercises and doing arts and crafts -- with painting and ceramics among the most popular activities. The intermediate and advanced care participants, who have a higher level of need, participated in modified activities. Some enjoyed repetitive tasks; hand massages and manicures were popular activities, also.
“Now we are providing remote services by telephone,” Mazzagatti said. “We send out monthly activity packets with puzzles, games and other activities; we do health and wellness checks; socialization calls during which we talk about whatever they want to chat about; and we act as a liaison to link them with any other needed services,” he said. “We’re trying to maintain supportive contact.”
Summit County Adult Day Services is among 235 schools, parishes, ministries, Catholic Charities sites and programs and other Catholic nonprofits that will participate in the upcoming #weGive Catholic online day of Catholic giving on Tuesday, Dec. 1.
Funds raised during the crowdfunding event will be used to support the program’s activities, including arts and crafts supplies. Mazzagatti said they are looking forward to resuming in-person programs as soon as it is possible to do so safely.
Last year, #weGiveCatholic raised more than $1.8 million in 24 hours and since its inception, has raised more than $4.1 million for participating Catholic organizations.
Bishop Edward Malesic invites everyone in Northeast Ohio to unite for #weGiveCatholic. “It seems more important than ever to come together as a community to support and celebrate the Catholic organizations that have shaped our souls with their works of education, formation, worship and charity,” he said.
“We believe in the generosity of people throughout Northeast Ohio. #weGiveCatholic can help make a difference to organizations that are more committed than ever to making our region a better place for all God’s people,” said Patrick Grace, executive director of the Catholic Community Foundation.
For more information on Summit County Adult Day Services, contact Mazzagatti at firstname.lastname@example.org or 330-762-2961.