Take Charges Takes On a New Look
Connecting Communities | May 2021
Photo taken at the final in-person Take Charge luncheon in February 2020.
For over 25 years, Marillac St. Vincent’s Senior Services has been hosting Take Charge, a program that creates a safe and nurturing environment for mobile, active seniors on the West Side to meet each month. These meetings offer socialization, a shared meal, and educational experiences through guest speakers and day trips.
In February 2020, Take Charge participants met in person for the last time. Many of the seniors were confined to their homes and the ability to socialize became increasingly difficult.
As the year progressed, MSV’s Senior Services realized that the need for socialization and a semblance of normalcy was needed more than ever. In November 2020, they created an entirely new format for Take Charge and began hosting meetings via phone.
“We wanted to find a way to keep our Take Charge seniors connected, both to each other and to Marillac. We wanted to avoid isolation as much as we can--we know it is terrible for our physical and mental health, and find new ways to engage them. I also think it's been an interesting opportunity for smaller groups of people to get to know each other better.” explained Senior Services Manager, Hilary Waldron.
Each month Senior Services hosts nine Take Charge phone calls; every table who used to meet in person gets its own regularly scheduled group phone conversation. Participation has been strong with about thirty seniors calling in each month and the feedback has been very positive. “There is a lot of laughter, which is always a good sign.” said Waldron. "Take Charge meetings are loud (60+ people in the Motor Skills Room--you can hear it down the hall), busy and buzzing with energy which is wonderful, but it can be hard to have a quiet one on one or small group conversation, versus a phone conference which allows for new and different kinds of conversations.”
To date, Senior Services has hosted over 40 Take Charge group calls and will continue to encourage this community, which is as vibrant as ever despite setbacks caused by the global health crisis, to meet monthly.
Click here for more information about Marillac St. Vincent’s Senior Servicesp>.