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The issue of social isolation among seniors is increasingly gaining attention, especially in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Senior isolation can lead to a range of serious health problems, including heart disease, mental health disorders, a weakened immune system, cognitive decline, and even death. Here are some key resources that seniors and their communities can use to combat isolation and loneliness in older adults.

Self-Assessment Tools

If you’re a senior, it may be helpful to start with an online self-assessment tool to determine if you are at risk of social isolation. This can help you become more aware of what may be missing in your life and set you on the path to discovering resources that can enrich your social life.

Technology and Toolkits

Using communication technologies like video chat, social media, and text with friends and family members — as well as online toolkits and resources — is an excellent way to stay connected and grounded, especially if you have mobility or transportation challenges. Don’t worry if these tools are unfamiliar; loved ones can help you learn about them, as can online how-tos. Between digital “visiting” sessions, consider using AI-powered smart speakers to get information, have conversations, and engage your brain. Learning new technologies is also great for brain health!

Social and Exercise Groups

Consider joining a social or exercise group that meets regularly to do something you enjoy or that keeps you mentally and physically healthy. Excellent ideas include:

  • Enrolling in courses at a local college or university
  • Signing up for exercise classes with a gym, community recreation center, or nonprofit that serves seniors (which offers both physical and mental health benefits)
  • Joining a book or movie club
  • Trying out pottery, painting, or arts and crafts sessions
  • Volunteering with a nearby charity or nonprofit that aligns with your interests and values

Community Programs and Services

Particularly if you are homebound, seeking out community-based services can be an essential social lifeline. These can include meal delivery or group dining programs, medical and health resources, volunteer pair-ups, food and pet food assistance services, and more. These are often administered by nonprofit organizations who specialize in senior well-being. Seek out your local friendly nonprofit to see how they can help you live a healthier, more connected, and happier life today.

Spectrum Connect Helps Seniors Avoid Isolation and Loneliness

At Spectrum, we have witnessed firsthand the detrimental effects that isolation has had on our senior clients, particularly in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Connect, our newest program, was created to address that need. Through Connect, we provide reassurance calls, visits, and deliveries of pet food and supplies.

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. Contact us to learn more about our services, including Connect, or consider making a donation to support our work. We can't wait to work with you!