Even before a statewide Shelter-in-Place was mandated, social isolation was known as America’s quietest health risk—afflicting seniors of all socio-economic groups. Under normal conditions, many suffer in silence from the physical and mental health issues related to isolation and loneliness, but the current conditions are far from normal. With Bay Area residents sheltering in place, social isolation is putting thousands at risk while trying to keep them safe.
Research has linked social isolation and loneliness to higher risks of many physical and mental conditions. It is vitally important to stay connected and to help our older adults during these challenging times.
There are many ways to connect, keep busy, and be social while sheltering in place, says Alana Goldscheid, Director of Older Adult Social Programming for Seniors At Home. She has compiled an Activity List full of online tours, concerts, games, fitness, and much more. Alana also offered simple suggestions that seniors can easily do at home.
Six simple ways for seniors to keep social while remaining physically distant:
- Sit on your porch or at the front door, and say hi to your neighbors as they walk by.
- Go for a walk, but use a mask and keep the appropriate distance from people. The exercise and engagement in your neighborhood will be refreshing.
- Call a friend or relative and watch a movie together while you are on the phone.
- Have storytime! Read to your grandchildren (or the neighbor’s children) over the phone.
- Have a curbside comedy hour with your neighbors. Listen to your favorite comedians and have a good laugh, all from your driveway or sidewalk.
This is a great time to think outside the box and have some fun with it.
Seniors At Home has shifted its programs to accommodate social distancing while providing vital services and social engagement for our clients.
- Skyview Day Club, which typically provides onsite programming for those with dementia, has shifted to online activities every morning via Zoom—keeping adults with memory loss socially connected and providing a needed respite for family caregivers.
- Through our Safe at Home program, volunteers make daily calls to seniors, providing companionship, socialization, and ensuring their safety.
- Hundreds of volunteers deliver groceries, medication, and supplies to those who are isolated and homebound. This too provides a quick social connection along with the needed supplies. (Volunteer grocery shoppers and food runners are still needed! Apply here >
If you or someone you know needs assistance. JFCS is here to help you and our entire community. Please call our Bay Area Critical Help Line at 415-449-3700
Seniors At Home services are funded by fees for services and by donations for those who cannot afford the full cost of care for these critical services.