Help at Home

Help at Home Director Lois Bell, right, chats with Lucille Myers Feb. 1, 2021. Myers utilizes the service in order to continue living independently at home.

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e were thrilled recently to learn that we were the recipients of the Key Service Award from the membership of the Sheridan County Chamber of Commerce. More than 80 employees and many volunteers are inspired by the nomination and recognition that, as an organization in our community, we are doing important and valuable work.

Over the past 12 months we have, more than ever, realized the significance of our mission and purpose to help people stay well and living at home for as long as possible.

Due to the pandemic, we have utilized this time of social distancing and gathering restrictions to upgrade our heating and air conditioning system. We received funding from the CARES Community Relief Grant through the Wyoming State Land and Investment Board to complete an emergency installation of a new HVAC system. The health and safety of the building in terms of airflow, ventilation and filtration have been dramatically improved.

There were many community partners, including the city of Sheridan, Sheridan County, Sheridan Memorial Hospital and local legislators who provided key help along the way to accomplish this huge project in record time. We are grateful for the local contractors including Powder River Heating and Air Conditioning, Modern Electric, QC10 Architects and Axe Build who came together quickly to fast-track this project.

Although The Hub building has been closed, we have been incredibly busy bringing the services to people in many ways. We have had to stretch and work creatively to meet increased and unique needs of people in their homes and neighborhoods throughout our communities. One way to measure value and impact is in the numbers. This past year we served more than 3,500 people.

• 105,739 meals: Though our congregate meal program ceased during COVID-19, our Home Delivered Meals program kicked into high gear to pick up the slack. This essential program has gone from delivering 150 meals per day to more than 400 during the COVID-19 pandemic.

• 40,154 rides with Goose Creek Transit: Though we experienced a temporary pause in our services at the height of our community’s COVID-19 restrictions, we have now resumed both our fixed-route shuttle service throughout town and our door-to-door transportation.

• 572 people received services from Hub Support Center — This important team has been in near-constant communication with our clients throughout our building’s closure, making daily phone calls and home visits as necessary, to ensure that clients are connected to the services that they need both within The Hub and throughout the community.

• 3,283 hours of services through the Family Caregiver Support — We know how isolating social distancing has been and thus we have been working hard to ensure continuation of services such as support groups, workshops and respite services by providing in-person social distancing and the use of technology like Zoom video conferencing.

• 17,800 hours of Help at Home Services — Social-distancing protocols in the community have further emphasized the need for Help at Home Services, which allow people to remain in their homes longer, avoiding hospitalizations and more restrictive environments, and include home-making activities, and personal care services.

• 18,453 hours of Day Break Services — Our adult day care facility continued to serve a limited number of people throughout the pandemic, with careful screening of visitors and strict sanitation protocols. It has never been more important than now to continue to serve those who may be unable to stay home alone, and whose family members work outside of their homes, or need a break from caregiving.

• 1,365 people took part in Fun and Wellness Activities (or 35,473 hours) — Although many of our in-house activities like Bingo and exercise classes had to be put on hold, we continued to look for creative ways to bring activities and engagement to our clients.

Numbers are not always the best way to quantify value. Measuring the human effect of our services is critical to us and, going forward, is something we hope to improve. The services the Hub provides improves our economy. We have heard that the Hub on Smith and our services have attracted people and businesses to Sheridan, and our existence provides jobs and supports local businesses who provide our organization with goods and services.

The Hub provides amenities that people want to see in communities, and these services add to the reasons that people want to live here for the long haul — people who make long-term commitments to our community.

With the HVAC project completed and an increase in the number of people we serve getting vaccinated, we plan to open some limited services at the Hub this spring. We do not quite yet expect activity to be what it was before the pandemic, and any services will need to be provided with health and safety protocols in place.

In March, April, and May we will be gradually opening up the Grab ‘n’ Go, an information desk, and a few scheduled activities. This summer we hope to open up more, depending on the increasing numbers of people vaccinated and Sheridan’s infection rate.

Thank you to everyone who is serving and supporting Sheridan’s older adults and their families now and as we move further into 2021. It takes all of us to make this community a wonderful place to live.

Carmen Rideout is executive director of The Hub on Smith. 

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