Affiliated funds keep families in touch through Connecting Elders opportunity

In Thayer County—and throughout Greater Nebraska—volunteers and care providers are making it easier for families to connect with loved ones living in long-term care facilities.

The Hebron Community Foundation Fund (HCFF) awarded $5,000 to Blue Valley Lutheran Homes Society for the purpose of purchasing notebook computers and wireless microphones to help facilitate communication between residents and their families—essential items for essential communication.

“Humans are social creators and we need to feel connected to one another,” said HCFF Advisory Committee member Rita Luongo. “This program gives our older population a way to connect to loved ones and achieve this most basic need.”

Multiple communities applied for grants through NCF’s Connecting Elders funding opportunity, made possible by the Alice DeVoe Donor-Advised Fund and an anonymous donor. The effort provides matching grants to NCF affiliated funds to purchase electronic devices, complementary equipment, installation, training, and compensation for related staff time to connect patients and residents of hospitals, assisted living and/or nursing home facilities with family and friends.

“Our FAC has several members with a parent in the local nursing home,” Luongo said. “Our FAC was very proud to be a part of this project to address the needs of those we love and others who find themselves in the same situation.”

The Foundation for Thayer County Health Services Fund awarded $5,000 to Thayer County Hospital to purchase laptops, headsets, a Zoom account, and software to allow patients to connect with family and friends through video calls, email, and games. The Fillmore County Hospital Foundation Fund granted $2,500 to Fillmore County Hospital to assist with virtual therapy sessions. The Butler County Area Foundation Fund, Imperial Community Foundation Fund, and Norfolk Area Community Foundation Fund also made use of the opportunity to award grants to local long-term care centers in order to enhance virtual communication capacity.

For many communities, the funding opportunity’s impact will go beyond long-term care facilities.

“Although this project’s goal was to help our older population, I think it has helped all of us,” Luongo said. “Those of us with family members in the nursing homes or the hospital struggle with a lot of emotions relating to our loved ones. We feel guilty for not being there and worry about if they are alright. This project gives us peace of mind because we can see them and talk to them through technology. The benefits from the program go far beyond the residents we were initially trying to help.”

Click here for more information on how to apply for the Connecting Elders funding opportunity. You may also contact NCF’s Community Impact Coordinator Kristine Gale by email at kgale@nebcommfound.org.