For an agency that has built its reputation over nearly 45 years on developing personal, trusting relationships with consumers and their families, a global pandemic required Greater Lynn Senior Services (GLSS) to pivot quickly to new ways of doing things. Within days, most programming shifted to a telehealth model, while nutrition programs, like Meals on Wheels, increased its distribution to serve a vulnerable population and implemented new measures to ensure the safety of both delivery drivers and consumers.
“The COVID-19 outbreak required that we approach our work with fresh eyes and flexibility,” says Kathryn C. Burns, MHA, Chief Executive Officer at GLSS. “Once we had our core programs re-oriented, we—like everyone in the community—wondered what more we could do to support our consumers and improve people’s lives at a time when being physically together was not possible.”
The result is “GLSS TV” airing on local cable stations and a telephone call-in program called “Lunchtime With GLSS,” both of which are aimed at communicating information to consumers and reducing isolation. “GLSS TV” is an entertaining, half-hour program featuring nutrition advice through a cooking segment, chair exercise, and information about programs and services, as well as upcoming events. Lynn residents can watch on Channel 3 or 38, but anyone can watch the show live at lynntv.org. The show airs on Mondays at 10:30 a.m., Wednesdays at 9:00 p.m., and Fridays at 5:30 p.m. It is also available at glss.net.
“Lunchtime With GLSS,” the telephone call-in program happens on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11:30 a.m. “We wanted to invite people to enjoy their home-delivered or home-made lunch and share a ‘virtual’ meal together, enjoy fellowship, and have fun, much like they did at local senior centers prior to the pandemic,” Burns says. To join, call 844-857-5555 and enter passcode 232 2367 #. Both programs are made possible by a generous grant from AARP.
Burns notes that Meals on Wheels are being delivered every week day to an increased population of residents during the pandemic, but people age 60 and older can also come by GLSS (8 Silsbee Street in Lynn) on Tuesdays and Fridays from 11:00 a.m.–12:00 noon to pick up a hot, healthy lunch.
GLSS is the nonprofit Aging Services Access Point and Area Agency on Aging serving people of all ages living with disabilities in Lynn, Lynnfield, Nahant, Saugus, Swampscott, and through some programs, the Greater North Shore and Merrimack Valley.