Two weeks ago, SDSCF convened a (virtual) meeting with senior center directors and service providers from around the county who’ve spent the last six months figuring out how to reach isolated seniors – a population that’s grown dramatically during the COVID-19 pandemic. They swapped stories and exchanged notes about creative ways to deliver programming that no one had even imagined this time last year.
Most senior centers now offer virtual classes and social activities that allow people to connect with one another from the safety of their homes. Cooking, Spanish, painting, yoga, grief counseling, bingo, you name it. While many older people lack internet access and struggle to learn new technology, we were encouraged to hear about efforts to provide hot spots and tablets to seniors in need, along with training on how to use them.
While their physical buildings remain closed to the public, many senior centers now offer drive-thru lunch pick-ups, and some will soon add drive-thru flu shots. In Chula Vista, they’re getting ready to launch outdoor programs to supplement their virtual offerings – welcome news in an era of Zoom fatigue! And all around the county, volunteers are making check-in calls and delivering meals to give isolated seniors a human connection, even from six feet away.
The loneliness epidemic among older people predates COVID-19, but current events have raised awareness and created a sense of urgency to help us combat it.
It’s inspiring to see how San Diegans have learned to adapt and overcome since our world was turned upside down in March, but we know the pandemic is far from over and there is much work left to be done. That’s why SDSCF continues to raise money to meet the needs of vulnerable elders during this prolonged crisis.
Thank you to everyone who has so far donated to our San Diego Seniors Coronavirus Recovery Fund. As a result of your support, we are proud to announce our first COVID-19 response grant cycle in partnership with the Sahm Family Foundation, which will help senior centers and other providers expand programs and pilot innovative new ways to mitigate the harmful impacts of social isolation.
The loneliness epidemic among older people predates COVID-19, but current events have raised awareness and created a sense of urgency to help us combat it. Now is the time to come together in support of isolated seniors who have no one to turn to. If you’d like to help, please consider making a donation. All funds will go directly to community-based organizations serving older people in San Diego County during this time of crisis.
Thank you for your support.