Seniors First has been serving the senior citizens of Central Florida for over 55 years with our mission to enhance the quality of life of seniors by maintaining their independence and dignity. All programs and services offer a vital support system to vulnerable older adults aged 60 and older that improve their quality of life, and delay/avoid costly institutional care.
While some seniors are fortunate to have the support of family and friends or neighbors, many do not and find themselves struggling just to pay bills, often having to choose between nutritious food and medication. Currently 1 in 6 seniors struggle with hunger and may not know where their next meal will come from. That represents over 16,000 individuals in Orange County alone.
Overall, Seniors First served over 4,000 clients across all programs and services in 2021. To address senior hunger and nutrition, Seniors First served over 406,000 meals to seniors on our Meals on Wheels and Neighborhood Lunch Programs. The Neighborhood Lunch Program serves meals in a congregate setting. Both programs address the deeper and more widespread isolation and depression caused by the pandemic.
Additional Seniors First programs include a Community Food Pantry; In-Home Care that includes Personal Care Assistance, Homemaker, Companionship and Respite for Caregivers; Guardianship and Stepping Stone Medical Equipment Bank. Additional client supports include our Pet Program providing food for client’s pets and our Senior Loneliness Project providing counseling for those clients suffering from loneliness and depression.
The community can help our seniors in many ways by advocating, volunteering and donating. Society tends to overlook the growing needs of this vulnerable demographic. By providing reliable, targeted nutrition and other in-home services Seniors First lessens the inevitable taxpayer burden. The cost to care for our community’s seniors at home is approximately $9,000 vs. $105,000 to care for them in a nursing home.
Advocating for increased support for community-based programs is critical to meet seniors where they are and keep them thriving and independent in their own homes. Our client Anna said it best, “Your delicious meals and the care you provide has filled my life with friendship and joy. I don’t get out much anymore but because of your wonderful organization, the world comes to me and I am not alone.”
Seniors First has several volunteer opportunities to get involved. This includes delivering Meals on Wheels, helping in our Community Food Pantry, joining one of our special event committees, heading a collection drive, or helping with administrative duties in the office.
To assist with the growing need to serve our community’s most vulnerable senior citizens more dollars are always needed. While we do receive funding from government sources, private foundations, corporations, the faith community and individuals, the need outpaces the funding. Seniors First has several ways to contribute whether it is monetary or in-kind.
To learn more about Seniors First programs and how you can get involved, please contact our offices at 407-292-0177 or visit our website SeniorsFirstInc.org.