Ithaca, New York
LLH is part of a new and exciting national movement of people who are taking charge of their futures as they age. The concept is to create a virtual retirement neighborhood of older adults who want to support one another as they age at home. There are now over 350 organizations similar to LLH worldwide based on the same model, referred to as a "Village." Based on this national model, LLH is entirely local and independently- governed, and operated by local members and volunteers. We help people age your way with our enrichment and empowerment. Creating and sustaining meaningful purpose and engagement throughout the lifespan is vital to assuring a positive aging experience.
LLH provides opportunities for seniors to develop new and maintain ongoing supportive relationships, friendships, and a sense of community and ensure that seniors and their caretakers know and access a range of supportive services. We help older adults lead dignified, independent, high quality lives with more control of their future and more excellent health and well-being. The support of dignity and independence for seniors is the very core of LLH's charitable mission. LLH realizes that life, at this stage, is fluid. It is a time of need but also a time to give back. The national model built on both truths is a proven way to support aging at home by connecting people. Membership creates an engaged relationship with the virtual Village community model, providing meaningful purpose and engagement throughout the lifespan by contributing their talents, skills, and life experiences. They can live happily and dynamically in their own homes, remaining on the tax rolls and enriching their own lives and the lives of others.
The LLH Board of Directors is deeply committed to having an inclusive membership that represents Tompkins County's diversity. It has developed a Sponsored Membership Policy to waive the membership fee for anyone who indicates that the fee is a barrier to participation. This request is for our scholarship fund's continued support so that we can both maintain and continue to offer membership to a significant number of low-income seniors in Tompkins County. This program operationalizes the LLH vision as a community-based organization to decrease socioeconomic equity for seniors in Tompkins County. By creating a community of seniors helping one another age in their homes, membership allows seniors at risk from events that trigger decline and create positive individual well-being. LLH creates social networks, relieves caregiver stress, and provides transportation and other support.
Our LLH staff and volunteers also provide positive health support in a variety of ways. They have helped individuals obtain health-related items and solve problems such as the case of one 81-year-old man with severe memory issues being discharged without any discharge orders, equipment, or medication after an ankle ligament was reattached to his leg in outpatient surgery. They answered questions on how to get a lift chair, hospital bed, knee up scooter, and have it paid for by insurance, private pay, or get it local and free. Another person needed answers on how to submit a Medicare claim on durable equipment. One person was readmitted to the emergency department, and LLH kept in contact with her to make sure she knew she was supported. We also helped this person communicate with her doctor about her imaging appointment. She waited two weeks for an imaging appointment, and she was very ill and hardly able to care for herself. LLH check-in phone calls to intervene and assist her in the health care system were critically important for her. Below are recent comments from some of our sponsored members that indicate the difference that LLH makes in their lives.
"Oh, it is a wonderful thing! Just knowing there are people out there right now who are willing to step up and help gives emotional support that can't be described in words."
"I am a person who has always embraced my independence. It was difficult for me .... thankfully, I came to the place where I realized that asking for help is not a weakness… I have a community. Knowing that no matter what challenges I may face...LLH is there to walk through them with me."
"Importantly during the pandemic, I've been telephoned (almost) daily by another, very friendly woman -- just to check on me, as I'm older and live by myself."
"This year, Love Living at Home has mainly impacted my life as emotional support. It helps me know it's there and knows that there is someone I can call if I need some help. It also makes me feel that I am part of something even if I'm not participating directly."
Overall, LLH has increased membership to 184 from 139 and made a critical difference in our members' lives during the Coronavirus pandemic. We performed a total of 2,454 services in 2020, and in 2019 we completed 611 services. We have created an entirely new category of services, Coronavirus Community support, including errands and shopping. Our new services also included 1,454 Coronavirus support phone calls to members living alone, which has become a critical aspect of our overall goals, particularly health and well-being. With the support you give us, we can continue our great mission of helping age people their way and helping them feel empowered to enrich their lives through our programs and neighbors helping neighbors.
Love Living at Home is a volunteer membership nonprofit dedicated to helping older adults stay healthy and independent in their own homes and communities. We accomplish this by providing a mixture of social and educational opportunities - opportunities to volunteer and receive volunteer services, and coordinated access to vetted community resources.
2020: Recap of Activity & Accomplishments
Love Living at Home is handling the pandemic effect quite well, all things considered.
Most of our members began to self-isolate in mid-March. We saw clearly that the need to protect our members against isolation was never greater and that our services and programs were about to disappear as face-to-face offerings. It became our first imperative to act on our concerns about member isolation.
Our rapid response as an organization enabled us to restructure our operations to keep running virtually. The entire organization - staff (1.5), board, committee members and volunteers - all pitched in under the leadership of our Executive Director, Cheryl Jewell.
Within the first week, staff and volunteers began to deliver groceries and medications. Shortly thereafter, we began to publish an expanded newsletter, published three times a week. We initiated multiple virtual gatherings on Zoom. Our staff and volunteers made, and continue to make, regular support phone calls, do the shopping and other errands, continue to give rides for essential appointments, and are available for any other tasks that volunteers can manage.
In all, we have performed a total of 2,284 services through November this year compared with 811 last year at the same time, creating an entirely new category of services: Coronavirus Community support. Our new services also included over 1,500 Coronavirus support phone calls to members living alone. We have had 170 Zoom Programs as part of our social contact mission. (I have attached our latest member Program list illustrating our increased activity level.) Our members tell us that we have made a critical difference in their lives during the Coronavirus pandemic.
In 2020 we put into place three new marketing efforts to increase membership: (a) a six-month trial offer, which had a very favorable 63% conversion rate into paying memberships; (2) a special invitation to Horizon Village residents, partially underwritten by the new owner of the property; and (3) an increased successful drive for Sponsored Members (who cannot afford the member dues), subsidized through designated donations. These efforts combined to help us grow our combined membership in this tough year from 140 to 178. We plan to continue these efforts into 2021 and add one or two additional membership acquisition and retention strategies.
2020: The Fiscal Year
Revenue: Although we did not achieve our 2020 goals from fundraising due to all events' cancellation, our Board stepped up and helped fill part of the budget gap by doubling the amount of the budgeted Board Gift Goal.
Expenses: We negotiated with the landlord of our new office space to cut our rent by 50% while being unused. We cut the marketing budget by 40%, anticipating a year-long pandemic. Expenses allocated to our fundraisers also went unspent. Combined payroll expenses increased $10,000 due to added time and effort required to handle the increased load in services and programs by the assistant ED.
Our volunteer bookkeeper Board member was able to obtain a PPP forgivable loan payment of $16,500, which enabled LLH to offset lost revenue and end the year positive:
Total Revenue: 2020 Budget: $110,000 1/1 thru 12/30/20: $122,000
Total Expenses: 2020 Budget: $112,000 1/1 thru 12/30/20: $119,400
We are forecasting a continuation of intense effort in services and programs to keep our growing membership safe, healthy, and connected, through the first half of the year, probably longer. We are reaching out to our primary benefactor - Triad Foundation, for additional support to help us accomplish this.
Our Board-approved budget for 2021 is projected to be approximately $127,000 in revenue and expenses, with a break-even goal.
The mission of Love Living at Home (LLH) is to support seniors in their desire to live healthier more independent lives by providing a mixture of social opportunities, volunteer opportunities and services, and coordinated access to community resources.