Loneliness Can Be Deadly for Seniors; Friendship Can Save Lives!

Zoë Broussard

As time passes, many older adults attend too many funerals. Friendships that lasted and carried them for decades fall short when connections are lost. Many seniors wake up and go about their day, not knowing whether or not they will speak to another person for the entire day.

A growing number of seniors are isolated and can’t visit their friends and family as much as they used to. This fact is especially true for seniors who don’t drive. According to America's Health Rankings, social isolation affects around 25% of older adults ages 65 and older. Social isolation can negatively impact physical health and mental well-being.

Strong social networks have been shown to improve chronic illness management and physical and cognitive health. Take the extra step to ensure that your older adult friends know that they are loved and supported. Meals on Wheels Diablo Region is the only Meals on Wheels in Contra Costa County that provides meal delivery and senior support services. They have many programs designed to support older adults in their ability to age gracefully and with dignity.

Their Friendly Visitors program matches older clients with screened and trained volunteers from the community for weekly one-hour visits. MOW Diablo Region provides companionship to 220 homebound seniors every week.

If you prefer connecting at a distance, consider joining their Friendly Caller program as a volunteer. Friendly Caller volunteers provide seniors a connection to another person even though they might not be able to go out. This is a great opportunity for anyone who wants to brighten a senior's day through friendship and conversation. Seniors in the community experience a lot of joy from conversations with our Friendly Callers.

Meals on Wheels Diablo Region has a long list of seniors across Contra Costa County who are in need of help from Friendly Helpers. As a Friendly Helper, you can help run errands for seniors who cannot do so for themselves. The errands you’ll do as a Friendly Helper are based on the senior’s needs. The Meals on Wheels Diablo Region staff will work with you to find tasks that fit your schedule. Some errands include taking a senior to their doctor’s appointments, going grocery shopping with an older adult, and other functions that help our elderly neighbors in their daily endeavors.

They are currently seeking volunteers to expand their efforts to end senior isolation. This volunteer opportunity gives you the chance to make a difference in a senior's life through companionship.

If you or a family member would enjoy some company, sign up for the Friendly Visitors program. If you are or know a senior who would like to request a Friendly Visitor companion, please apply online.

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East-coast native Zoë Broussard obtained a Master of Arts in Media Psychology in April 2022 and specialized in Persuasion, Social Behavior, Social Media, and Digital Communication. She shares news and stories related to local businesses, government programs, community events, non-profit work, volunteer opportunities, senior support resources, and more for people from all walks of life in the Bay Area. She currently works as the Communications Specialist for Meals on Wheels Diablo Region, the only Meals on Wheels that delivers meals and supportive services to seniors in Contra Costa County. Contact: zbroussard@mowdr.org | Phone: (925) 482-2624

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