Let’s look at what we can be helping seniors stay connected during the pandemic surge. I think I was more upset about my father having Thanksgiving alone than he. My small family is scattered across the states, and it was not safe for us to be together. While I worry about my dad living solo, he sees friends, can handle facetime without tech support, and is the master of the pithy text. Not all seniors are faring as well. Physical and mental limitations cause many of our nation’s seniors to live in isolation. The pandemic has only exacerbated the problem.
Nearly one-fourth of Americans aged 65 and older are socially isolated. The health effects of social isolation are staggering. Seniors without social supports are a at greater risk of heart disease, stroke, depression, and a 50% increased risk of dementia. The socially distanced state of our world eliminates most commonsense way to help isolated elders. Togetherness is a serious health risk for everyone, especially seniors.
Programs that are Helping Seniors Stay Connected
During the past months, programs have emerged where volunteers call seniors to check in. The conversations are casual and provide participants the opportunity to share about themselves. Seniors receive reliable connection to others and something to look forward to by participating. While nothing can replace being together in person, knowing someone cares enough to call may help, especially during the holiday season.
A handful of municipalities and small nonprofits are offering calls to seniors, but two easily accessible, nationwide programs have emerged: AARP’s Friendly Voice Program and Mon Ami Phone Bank. Support for yourself, an older loved one, or an incredible new volunteer experience is just a few clicks away.
Unfortunately, even the best-intentioned volunteer programs cannot help those who need more than phone calls. If you are concerned for the safety of a senior living alone, we can help. Our team of Elder Care professionals can help coordinate the care and supports required to balance the independence and the wellbeing of your loved one.