Our Elder Population Needs Your Help

November 23, 2020

Our Elder Population Needs Your Help

In 2018, about one-third of adults over the age of 44 reported feeling lonely, according to an AARP survey. As the older adult population in Atlanta continues to quickly grow, the number of isolated older adults grows right alongside it. Because of COVID-19, high-risk seniors are more isolated than ever before, unable to see family and friends and afraid of leaving their homes. A national poll about healthy aging conducted by the University of Michigan found that “in June of this year, 56% of people over the age of 50 said they sometimes or often felt isolated from others – more than double the 27% who felt that way in a similar poll in 2018.”

Older adults feel even more isolated than they have in previous years because of social distancing precautions, which have proven helpful with regards to remaining safe during the pandemic, but also bring underlying issues that negatively affect the older adult population. Older adults who are more isolated and lonely tend to have more health issues than those who are more socially active. AARP notes thatsocial isolation among midlife and older adults is associated with an estimated $6.7 billion in additional Medicare spending annually.” Older adults across Atlanta have felt these negative effects that go hand-in-hand with isolation and need help, whether it’s in the form of financial assistance, social connections, or grocery deliveries. Many find themselves in the same situation as Merle.

Merle is 92 years old and hasn’t had a visitor since March. He felt isolated from his friends and family because he didn’t want to risk leaving his house. JF&CS heard about Merle’s situation and was able to support him with phone reassurance calls, virtual social activities, food deliveries, and transportation to medical appointments. Merle was able to receive the support he needed, however, there are still many older adults who also need help, but are not currently receiving it. JF&CS continues to work hard to meet our community’s needs, and your support makes a difference.

To help support our elder population, please visit jfcsatl.org/helpnow

Sources: ‘Loneliness and Social Connections: A National Survey of Adults 45 and Older’ by G. Oscar Anderson, Colette Thayer, AARP Research (https://www.aarp.org/research/topics/life/info-2018/loneliness-social-connections.html)
‘Loneliness Among Older Adults Before and During the COVID-19 Pandemic’ by John Piette, Ph.D., M.S. (https://www.healthyagingpoll.org/report/loneliness-among-older-adults-and-during-covid-19-pandemic)