AllOne Foundation Funding to Enhance Services to Isolated Older Adults

To help older adults maintain their independence in the community, the AllOne Foundation provided a three-year grant award allowing The Wright Center for Community Health and the separately operated Telespond Senior Services to deliver critical programming such as adult day care.

AllOne Foundation CEO John W. Cosgrove recently presented a ceremonial check representing the final installment of the grant funding, which in total amounted to $1.156 million.

The joint initiative to support successful aging in place among residents of Lackawanna, Luzerne and nearby counties began in early 2020, just as the COVID-19 outbreak hit Northeast Pennsylvania. The pandemic forced Telespond to temporarily scale back or suspend many of its services, which include an in-home personal care program and a senior companion program. At the same time, concerns were raised locally and globally about the impact of the pandemic on socially isolated older adults who might be prone to developing behavioral health issues such as substance use disorder, anxiety and depression.

Since then, Telespond has better positioned itself for the long-term continuity of its services, reviving and expanding its medical model adult day care program as well as recruiting volunteers for its senior companion program. Telespond also implemented a transportation program for its clients, renovated its building on Scranton’s Saginaw Street and made many other improvements.

“With the vital support from AllOne Foundation and all of our partners, our organization has made tremendous strides toward developing into the strong nonprofit ally that area seniors and their families can rely on for services that promote dignity and provide a viable alternative to retirement homes,” said Joseph J. Grilli, president and CEO of Senior Day Services, a Telespond Company.

The Wright Center serves as fiscal agent for the grant award, providing Telespond with resources, guidance and expertise as Telespond repositions itself for growth of its service area and sustained impact.

“The Wright Center recognizes how socially isolated seniors can be particularly vulnerable to both mental and physical decline,” said Meaghan Ruddy, the organization’s senior vice president of academic affairs, enterprise assessment and advancement, and chief research and development officer. “Our team members – including our executives, geriatrics providers and support staff –

have been privileged to work with Telespond’s leadership to enhance the community-based supports available to our region’s most mature and venerable residents.”

The grant-funded project is scheduled to continue through March 2023.

AllOne Foundation, based in Wilkes-Barre, works independently or collectively to enhance the present health care delivery system of Northeastern and North Central Pennsylvania and to be innovative, creative and collaborative in crafting new ways of improving the health and welfare of the people of our region.

Telespond, based in Scranton and serving the area since 1974, assists older adults and their caregivers through a range of programs including an on-site adult day care program, non-medical in-home personal care services and a senior companion program in which volunteers provide seniors with friendly company and help with day-to-day activities.

The Wright Center for Community Health is headquartered in Scranton and operates nine primary care practices in Lackawanna, Luzerne and Wayne counties, offering services to patients of all ages. In July 2020, it formally established a geriatrics service line, and it also has begun an Alzheimer’s and Dementia Care Program. The Wright Center for Graduate Medical Education offers multiple residency and fellowship programs, including a Geriatrics Fellowship.