While physical distancing has become necessary in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, social isolation has become an increasing concern, particularly among older adults. Prior to the pandemic, older adults were already at the greatest risk for isolation, and beyond the obvious quality of life concerns, there are significant related health concerns as well. In fact, social isolation has been proven to have direct negative impacts on blood pressure, chronic disease, depression, and vulnerability to abuse and neglect.
In December 2019, the Foundation awarded a planning grant to a collaborative of organizations working together to design a community system to reduce older adult isolation in Lackawanna County. The group, led by the United Way of Lackawanna & Wayne Counties, includes social service agencies, institutions of higher education, the Lackawanna County Area Agency on Aging, and health care providers. The key outcome of this grant will be a plan for implementation of a coordinated system that includes a:
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, the Foundation encouraged the collaborative to put the work of this planning grant on hold in order for its members to focus on responding to emergent needs. Work will resume when circumstances allow.
In the meantime, the Foundation is exploring more immediate opportunities to support programming that alleviates older adult isolation, while still adhering to physical distancing guidelines.
The Foundation is currently interested in opportunities to support programming that alleviates older adult isolation, while still adhering to physical distancing guidelines. Inquiries about related support can be directed to Christine Marcos, Program Officer for Strategic Initiatives.
*Organizations that receive support through the Foundation’s strategic initiatives are still eligible to also receive funding through the organization’s responsive and capacity-building priorities.