RSVP shifting gears during Coronavirus outbreak

Special for the Pahrump Valley Times
The Retired Senior Volunteer Program has been serving older and disabled people for over 40 years, helping to ensure that they can maintain as much independence as possible. Robin Hebrock / Pahrump Valley Times
One of the functions of RSVP is to provide a variety of information on dementia and related topics. Although RSVP is limiting its volunteer-client contact at this time, it is still available to give senior and disabled referrals to agencies and resources that they can use. Special for the Pahrump Valley Times
Nye County Sheriff’s Deputy Volunteers provided over 10,000 hours of service in 2019 under RSVP’s Volunteer Station Program to help meet the broader needs of the community.
This photo shows attendees at Friends Day Out in Pahrump. While coronavirus concerns continue, this weekly program has been postponed until further notice. At a time when “social distancing” has become the new norm in an attempt to stem the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19, companies and organizations across the country are updating and changing their models in an effort for keeping its operations running until the country returns to its old status quo.
One such organization that is making changes to its operations is the Nevada Rural Counties Senior Volunteer and Retired Program, better known simply as RSVP.
“RSVP has taken proactive measures and necessary precautions to respond to the outbreak of COVID-19 (new coronavirus) and support communities in its 15-county service region, including Carson City,” said a nonprofit organization announcement. profit. “The most vulnerable among us depend on RSVP’s volunteer services. Given the increased risks for those we serve, such as the elderly, veterans, and adults with disabilities, RSVP is limiting the interaction between its volunteers and clients by changing programs to meet the emerging needs of care recipients. ”
That means RSVP volunteers are now concentrating on providing the services they can while maintaining reduced contact between volunteers and clients.
With the “panic purchase” and increased risk of exposure associated with large-group purchases of concern to many seniors, RSVP staff and volunteers are delivering groceries and medications to their customers, eliminating the need to enter a store to obtain the necessary supplies. In addition, RSVP Executive Director and CEO Susan Haas said RSVP is partnering with the Ron Wood Family Resource Center and the Carson City Office of the Nevada Department of Education to assist with the distribution of emergency food to their elderly and disabled clients.
For many, the forced isolation and the incredible amount of uncertainty caused by the coronavirus is also creating an increase in anxiety. Here, too, RSVP strives to help its customers by implementing a system for telephone security controls. Volunteers and staff are also providing referrals to other agencies, as appropriate.
The RSVP transportation program is where most of the changes occur. Rather than offering transportation for a variety of reasons, RSVP is reducing this part of its program to essential medical visits only. This includes chemotherapy, radiation, dialysis, and other life-saving treatments.
The organization’s announcement noted that volunteers are not allowed to drive clients who express cold or flu symptoms and those who work in the housewives program will continue to clean for their older clients unless they have such symptoms.
“Our volunteers are working hard to keep our clients and their families safe and as healthy as possible during this crisis as they continue to help when and where they can,” RSVP Field Representative Tonya Brum, who directs RSVP operations at Nye County, he told the Pahrump Valley Times. “We are looking forward to the time when our lives will return to normal. In keeping with our concern for our community, RSVP has suspended Friends Day Out and Art 4 Seniors until the crisis has passed. If you have any questions about the services provided by RSVP, call me Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. at 2 p.m. at 702-845-4748 “.
Haas added that she and RSVP are asking everyone to take the precautions recommended by CDC and local health officials, noting that this is only a temporary period and that
things will improve. “Together we are strong. RSVP staff and volunteers continue to serve their community. Working together we will weather this storm; and we know this will happen, too,” said Haas.
One of RSVP’s central goals is to help older and disabled people avoid the need for nursing facilities or long-term care, empowering them to remain in their own homes and maintain their independence. With nursing homes as an apparent hotbed for the spread of the coronavirus, keeping clients out of such institutions is a mission that will surely strike a chord in the hearts of many at this time.
Anyone with a desire to step up and lend a hand to the RSVP nonprofit can do so by donating to the cause. RSVP may be changing its focus right now, but its overall goal remains the same, and each donation made will ensure that RSVP comes out of the coronavirus strong and ready to return to business as normal.
For more information or to make a donation to RSVP, please contact Brum at the phone number above or email
Contact journalist Robin Hebrock at

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