Did you know that more than 40% of seniors regularly experience loneliness? Research shows that loneliness can lead to serious health issues, especially for those over age 65. It can raise their chances of suffering from anxiety, depression, and even chronic conditions and functional decline. This can mean anything from heart disease and obesity to trouble with basic tasks such as bathing and eating. While we know that it is critical to practice social distancing to combat COVID-19, social isolation can have a negative impact on one’s mental health and be isolating to older adults.
Right now, the Y is helping by connecting volunteers with local seniors. Volunteers perform wellness checks, calling seniors to see how they are doing. Volunteers note any needs and either connect older adults with services in the moment or create an action plan for follow up. These conversations keep seniors connected to the community.
In the last month, #YMCAVirtualVolunteers made nearly 4,000 calls to seniors. We helped connect them to food services, transportation, and housing assistance. When safe to do so, the Y also makes deliveries of shelf-stable foods and hygiene products to seniors in need.
Over 15,000 seniors in Greater Cincinnati choose to spend time at the Y. With nearly half of those coming to the Y three times per week or more. While the Y has been providing services to older adults for decades through Silver Sneakers, Senior Centers, and Forever Young programs, we are leaning in to the strength of volunteers to offer services in a new way while addressing new challenges related to COVID-19.
Get involved by donating or becoming a #YMCAVirtualVolunteer today.