Illinois Aging Network Alert April 09, 2020
Illinois Aging Network Alert
April 09, 2020
Illinois Area Agencies on Aging warn that seniors are at increased risk of experiencing social isolation due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Social isolation and loneliness among older adults results from the absence of interactions between an individual or social network. A recent report from AARP showed that 1 in 3 adults age 45 and older are lonely and that physical distance, such as that resulting from required social distancing, is a key driver of social isolation. These older adults are also seeing their existing social networks diminish in size as their families and neighbors also practice social distancing.
Isolation and loneliness have been connected to an increase risk of negative physical and mental health outcomes, including depression and anxiety. Seniors are already at increased risk of serious health complications from COVID-19 and those who are experiencing diminished social connectedness are less likely to receive needed wellness checks in this critical moment.
While technology can reduce loneliness, not all methods of engagement provide real human interactions. The Friendly Phone Call (aka Telephone Reassurance) program is one of the key tools that local Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) are using to combat social isolation during this pandemic. By connecting staff or volunteers with seniors in their community, we can identify additional supports older adults may need during this stressful time, including home delivered meals or medical care.
Stakeholders must ensure that AAAs continue to receive funding and support to engage in this proactive outreach to our vulnerable isolated older adults during the COVID-19 pandemic.
For more information, contact Susan C. Real, Legislative Chair at 309-829-2065 ext. 218