Agencies help seniors cope with pandemic

Phone and internet connecting seniors
Posted at 5:30 PM, Jan 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-20 17:30:15-05

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WTXL) — As we approach one year since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, isolation is taking a toll on seniors. While social distance is needed to protect them from the virus, it’s also leaving them lonely.

Groups across Florida are coming together to help our seniors manage the pressure of the pandemic.

“I try to keep myself busy,” said Tennie Jackson. She’s one of the more than four million seniors living in Florida.

Like many seniors across Florida and Georgia, she’s kept her distance throughout the pandemic to avoid catching COVID-19.

“People who are afraid to leave their homes have already been socially isolated,” explained Lisa Bretz. She is the executive director of Advantage Aging Solutions in Tallahassee.

“Mental health, depression, loneliness: all of those factors combined with the fear of going out. We really want to boost the confidence of our seniors,” added Bretz.

She has seen how isolating the pandemic has been for seniors in the Big Bend. Her agency is working to address the issue. They are reaching out to seniors in the Big Bend, and they are checking on their mental health. They’re also connecting them to resources that could help manage those lonely feelings.

Leslie Spencer with AARP Florida added, “Isolation is nearly as deadly as smoking.”

The Cleveland Clinic says chronic loneliness can hurt older adults’ memory and lead to declines in mental and physical health. Now, agencies like Advantage Aging Solutions are keeping people connected through phone calls and online video chats.

Jackson says she’s benefited from the program. “I’m really not lonesome. I love people and I talk to people.”