May is Older Americans Month recognizing the contributions of older adults across the nation. The month also serves to raise awareness concerning elder abuse and neglect. A local organization aims to prevent such offenses by providing affordable in-home care services for aging adults. Elder Love, USA is taking that care to a new level after receiving a Coachella Valley Spotlight Grant this month from the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation.
“It’s always been our mission to help older adults live safe and happy lives in their own homes for as long as possible by making in-home care affordable and nonrestrictive,” said Shannon Shea, who founded Elder Love in 2016. “Receiving the grant from the Berger Foundation is helping Elder Love become more self-sufficient to help our local seniors even more.”
Originally, the nonprofit requested the grant to help subsidize its already low-cost in-home care for more local seniors to receive assistance with things such as cooking, cleaning, shopping, bathing, dressing, and medication management. But, once the pandemic hit, the organization needed to pivot. Shea and her team of caregivers and volunteers used the funds and time to create a thrift store, which opened in Palm Desert in February. Proceeds generated from the store front will maintain steady funds to keep Elder Love’s in-home care rates low. Hundreds of seniors in the area benefit from Elder Love’s sliding scale that offers low cost in-home assistance with no minimum hours and no contracts, which similar services do.
“Elder Love provides services for the middle sector, which is often overlooked,” said Catharine Reed, Vice President of Charitable Programs for the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation. “This group of seniors often needs extra care and support, but they don’t have a lot of savings to pay for it on their own, and they don’t qualify for low-income assistance. Elder Love is definitely filling a gap.”
Elder Love was born when Shea, now an MSW, working toward a PhD in Gerontology, was an intern at the Huntington Beach Senior Center. In the case management division, she saw many aging adults, that did not qualify for government assistance, still needing help to stay safe at home. However, most could not afford typical rates for in-home services. Shea transformed these observations into a nonprofit organization, which provided more than 100,000 hours of care in 2019.
“The services Elder Love provides can be simple, yet life changing,” said Jerry Upham, General Manager of Gulf California Broadcast Company, which owns and operates KESQ News Channel 3 and KPSP CBS Local 2. “Plus, this type of visitation and companionship can help offset feelings of isolation, loneliness and depression, which have been very common among many throughout the pandemic.”
Through the Coachella Valley Spotlight partnership with the H.N. and Frances C. Berger Foundation and News Channel 3, Elder Love, USA was featured on News Channel 3 programming, in public service announcements and on kesq.com throughout May. For more information about the organization, visit www.elderloveusa.org or call 888-336-8322. Elder Love’s new thrift store is located in the Ralph’s shopping center at the corner of Cook St. and Country Club Dr., Palm Desert.