“Thank goodness you found me. I need to talk to you! What happened to everyone? I’ve been so frightened, and my sister, she just tells me to calm down.” These were the first words spoken by Mrs. Jones* to her Access Institute therapist during their initial remote session in March of 2020. Mrs. Jones is 85 and lives in San Francisco’s Bayview Hunters Point.
Seniors have been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic more than any other age group. According to the CDC, they are 80 times more likely to require hospitalization and 7900 times more likely to die of COVID-19 than younger people. In addition, seniors in the U.S. already suffer more from the consequences of social isolation, which has grown exponentially this year due to the shelter in place orders. It’s no wonder so many of our patients were frightened when they could no longer see their families, friends, or therapists in person. And it’s why maintaining the connection with them has been our first priority.
Since Access Institute opened its doors in 2004, addressing the social and systemic neglect of seniors has been core to our mission. For too long, mental healthcare for seniors has been either non-existent or has focused narrowly on behavior modification. Our model is developmentally and culturally appropriate; values seniors’ emotional, social, physical health holistically; and creates an ecosystem of compassionate care. Our outcomes demonstrate its life-changing impact. And we do it all with no government funding and at no cost to the seniors served.
The pandemic hit Access Institute doubly hard. It produced an increased need for services and took away our primary fundraising vehicle--events. This left us with a $125,000 funding gap we need to fill by the end of our fiscal year, June 30, 2021. This is why we are sending you this urgent appeal. Your contribution will directly support therapy for seniors like Mrs. Jones, along with hundreds of others who rely on Access Institute’s life-line. Your donation will also ensure that we emerge from this COVID year on sound financial footing, enabling us to grow and meet the huge post-pandemic need for mental healthcare.
From all of us at Access Institute, thank you for your generous spirit and enduring support.
*Names of patients are changed to protect confidentiality.