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Good mental health is an essential part of being able to live a fulfilled, functional life. This is true for seniors as much as it is for anyone else. However, as they age, many individuals are at an increased risk for mental health issues due to changes in their lives and situations. Factors such as reduced mobility, health conditions and chronic pain, grief, and financial troubles can result in isolation and depression in senior citizens.

Social isolation and loneliness, in particular, have been identified as having a big impact on the health and overall well-being of seniors. Studies have proven that loneliness and isolation can put individuals at a higher risk of conditions such as high blood pressure, heart disease, decreased immunity, anxiety and depression, and cognitive deterioration. The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting social distancing measures have exacerbated feelings of loneliness and social isolation among seniors.

More Than Just a Meal

According to a recent study, 27% of adults aged 60 or over live alone and a survey of Spectrum senior Meals on Wheels clients, 70% reported living alone. For individuals in this situation, especially those that are homebound, community meal programs and meal delivery services such as those provided by Spectrum are invaluable. In addition to being a source of nutritious food that some individuals might not otherwise have access to, these meal programs provide an opportunity for social connection with the volunteers who deliver their food. In fact, some seniors look forward to these meal programs as their primary source of community engagement.

If you or an elderly loved one is feeling isolated or depressed, we may be able to help. Spectrum Community Services is committed to improving the quality of life for low-income families, seniors, and individuals in Alameda County. Through financial assistance and other services, our goal is to support community members in building healthy, safe, and independent lives. Visit our website for more information on our senior meals program or our fall prevention program.