Senior Services programs work to alleviate crisis of loneliness, isolation
By Roni Falck • JFCS Senior Services Program Manager
In May, the U.S. Surgeon General Dr. Vivek Murthy released an advisory calling attention to the public health crisis of loneliness, isolation, and lack of connection in our country. The advisory notes that loneliness, isolation and disconnection are a determinant of health and have been linked to an increase risk for developing mental health challenges and premature death.
The senior population has historically experienced high rates of loneliness and isolation due to limited transportation and mobility, along with contracting social circles. Being at higher risk for COVID-19, and the ensuing isolation, has only exacerbated the problem.
The advisory lays out a framework for the U.S. to establish a National Strategy to Advance Social Connection. Locally, JFCS is working on ways to establish connection and decrease loneliness. Our recent Caregiver Conference featured a session that focused on three programs that help reduce isolation for seniors with memory loss.
JFCS also provides a number of volunteer opportunities – Senior Companions, Telephone Reassurance and Outreach Visiting – that match seniors with community members to help prevent loneliness and isolation. These longstanding programs have fostered strong connections, and volunteers often share that they benefit more than the people they are visiting.
If you are looking for a meaningful volunteer opportunity to connect and help reduce isolation, please complete a volunteer application or contact Dana Shapiro, Community & Volunteer Engagement Manager, at 952-417-2112 or firstname.lastname@example.org. To request visits from a volunteer, call JFCS’ main number at 952-546-0616.