Pasadena Senior Center Makes Changes During COVID-19 Crisis

The Pasadena Senior Center has been deemed an essential service provider for older adults, so its doors remain open six days a week during the COVID-19 coronavirus crisis for social services and other assistance to older adults in need. Hours during this time are weekdays from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Robert, 67, recently took multiple buses to the Pasadena Senior Center because his Section 8 recertification is due April 15. Social Security offices are closed due to the crisis, and the city of Monrovia office that provides programming and services to older adults in that community is closed as well for the same reason. All Robert needed was a document from the Social Security website showing proof of income, but he does not have computer literacy skills or experience.
By the time he called the Pasadena Senior Center Monday morning, he was panicked and worried about whether he would continue to have a roof over his head after April 15. A volunteer who answered the phone suggested that Robert come directly to the center for help. Later in the day, when he arrived at the Pasadena Senior Center, another volunteer helped Robert access his information on the Social Security website and later placed a follow-up call to the Social Security Administration on his behalf.
Before he returned home, Robert was given a scholarship form for a reduced Pasadena Senior Center annual membership fee and said his experience was well worth the long bus ride on multiple transit lines across three cities.
Now that most people are experiencing mandatory isolation at home, the volume of Telephone Reassurance Program calls from volunteers and staff at the Pasadena Senior Center to homebound older adults is at an all-time high. The calls serve as wellness checks as well as loneliness-reducing conversation lifelines.
Karla, 64, lives alone and feels much lonelier these days now that she cannot come regularly to the Pasadena Senior Center for activities and camaraderie. She wanted to make sure the volunteer who calls her knows how thankful she is for this service. Sandra also lives alone and said she is happy for this program that helps her know there is someone who cares.
Anyone may call (626) 685-6732 to place themselves or loved ones on the list for Telephone Reassurance Program calls. Recipients must be 50 or older.
People are providing positive feedback to Pasadena Senior Center staff with messages of gratitude about online virtual classes, including strength training and guided meditation now that traditional classes at the center with rooms full of participants are on hold.
Evelyn, who previously joined guided meditation classes at the center in a group setting, encourages people to take advantage of the virtual version of the classes offered as an alternative during this time of isolation and, for many, fear.
“Emotionally, guided meditation calmed me down and brought me out of a stressful situation,” she said. “Physically, it lowered my blood pressure, so there have been benefits.”
Denise has been taking advantage of online fitness workouts. “It is a very good workout,” she said. “Thanks for all your efforts to keep us in shape.”
People also are expressing gratitude for a variety of food programs. Delivery of hot meals to people’s doorsteps is being conducted with the assistance of volunteers from Harvest Ministries; essential hygiene products, including toilet paper and disposable underwear, are being delivered by other volunteers to people who need them most; and weekly Friday food distribution, with food provided by the Los Angeles Food Bank, continues at the Pasadena Senior Center, but is being done differently until the COVID-19 crisis is over. Recipients with transportation issues can appoint proxies to pick up food for them, and others who are able to drive to the center wait in their cars while boxes of food are put into their vehicles by staff and volunteers who wear latex gloves and other protective items; prepared dinners are being delivered to homeless clientele, and all have stated words of appreciation.
With Pasadena Central Library and all branch libraries closed until further notice, the library at the Pasadena Senior Center is open on a limited basis for members who want to check out books and DVDs to help fight boredom at home. There also are books and DVDs for sale.
More information about these and other social-service programs, as well as online alternatives to traditional classes and other activities, can be found at pasadenaseniorcenter.org or by calling (626) 795-4331.
Now in its 60th year of providing programs and services to the greater Pasadena community, the Pasadena Senior Center is an independent, donor-supported nonprofit organization that is not part of any government agency.

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