ESS Support Services (ESS) is an award-winning, not-for-profit community support agency that has been serving marginalised individuals, especially seniors, older adults with disabilities, families and caregivers in the Etobicoke community and beyond since 1983. ESS offers a diverse range of services and accredited programs designed to support the independence, social well-being and health of their clients, along with a helping hand and respite for families and caregivers. With no choice but to suspend all social and group programmes due to the pandemic, ESS staff traditionally involved in their Adult Day Programming, Congregate Social Dining Programs, Group Transportation and Health, Wellness and Falls Prevention Programs were redeployed to develop and deliver virtual programming, provide wellness telephone check-ups, and to provide a grocery ordering and delivery service to support isolated seniors and their caregivers. Meanwhile, the Assisted Living services and 24/7 Respite Care Caring Centre continued uninterrupted. The 200 clients served in assisted living buildings continued to get the essential supports they needed to remain well and continue to live independently in the community and exhausted caregivers of clients with disabilities were able to get breaks to rest and recharge. Between the 1st April to 31st July 2020, ESS undertook 3,703 wellness telephone check-ups, approximately 46 calls per day, to clients that could no longer access the group programmes. Demand for ESS’s new services has been high and feedback from service users has been extremely positive.
Funding from the Sheinberg Relief Fund has been utilised by ESS across a wide range of services. It has enabled ESS to deliver Infection Prevention and Control training to staff who provide direct client services on a one-on-one basis through their Assisted Living and Respite Care programs, to provide community food and donation pick-up and delivery support, to upgrade their vehicles to provide safer transportation services for their clients, to develop new virtual programming, and to acquire PPE to keep staff and clients safe.