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Ethos ready to help seniors from Puerto Rico after hurricane

City organizations are preparing to help a possible influx of residents from Puerto Rico after Hurricane Maria decimated the island. While the Boston Public Schools are getting ready for students from the unincorporated U.S. territory, Ethos, a nonprofit that assists the elderly and disabled to live at home, is ready to help seniors coming to the area.

Ray Santos, Ethos community relations and development director, said it’s likely, “Families are going to send their most at-risk members to the (mainland United) States.”

This vulnerable population needs access to services including home care, Meals on Wheels or dine-in Community Café sites with other seniors, according to the organization.

“We know how difficult it is for folks to make this kind of transition,” said Santos, who was born in Puerto Rico and still has family there.

“On a personal level, I think [the slow pace of progress is] really frustrating,” he said. “My family has served in the U.S. military since World War I. … To see Puerto Ricans be treated as second-class citizens is really insulting,” said Santos.

Many programs available to the elderly don’t require permanent state residency, including homecare services and meals/nutrition programs.

Ethos, based in Jamaica Plain, also sponsors AgeWell West Roxbury, which has helped with the creation “of successful aging-in-place strategies for the Boston neighborhood with the highest concentration and highest absolute number of elders,” according to its website.

Whether seniors from Puerto Rico make Boston their permanent or temporary home, through AgeWell West Roxbury they can access healthy aging, tai chi, and balance programs.

Santos said Ethos will alert newcomers about the programs through social service organizations. The organization also has multilingual staff members.

“We’re prepared for this influx,” he said. “We’re ready to take on this challenge.”

Organizations and individuals inquiring about services are advised to call Boston ElderINFO, Ethos’ main intake line, at 617-262-6211 or visit www.ethocare.org/PuertoRico for more information. Ethos staff are ready to provide information, in both English and Spanish, and begin coordinating support.

 

 

Article source: http://roslindale.wickedlocal.com/news/20171011/ethos-ready-to-help-seniors-from-puerto-rico-after-hurricane

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