For most of us, the last seven months have been challenging, but we’ve weathered the pandemic. For the senior members of our community, however, it’s been very tough. They miss their friends. They miss their routines. They miss their big family gatherings. Many are lonely.
Regarding the senior population in Lehi, Corinne Mayberry, the program director at the Lehi Senior Center, said, “They are struggling. The seniors (like everyone) have had to adapt to new things if they want to stay social and stay connected. Online platforms like Zoom and video chats have been nice, but only if they can learn how to use them. Not everyone in that generation is tech-savvy. It has been a challenge for most. Many have succeeded and are doing their best while others just get frustrated and give up.”
What can we do? How can we show them how much we care?
Our suggestion is to remember them. Just visit your elderly friends or even older acquaintances. Please take a few moments to call, drop by their home, text, or even write a letter or note. Another idea? Share your copy of the Lehi Free Press with them. They might be pleased to read about the events, people and news in their city.
“I am concerned about them,” said Mayberry. “We are concerned about the mental and emotional impact of isolation on the youth, but we should also be concerned for the seniors. Getting old is hard, lonely, and frustrating already. Adding restrictions is making it harder. Seniors are in the “high-risk” group, and I want to protect them, but I am concerned for their welfare — emotionally, mentally, and physically. They need interaction.”
According to the National Institute on Aging, “Research has linked social isolation and loneliness to higher risks for a variety of physical and mental conditions: high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and even death.”
My mother, Betty Fowler, was notorious for being friendly and reaching out to others. She was a great example that way. Can’t we all be a little more like Betty? The good news is that making a difference in our senior friends’ lives is not hard, and it doesn’t take skill. We can all pick up the phone (we’ve all become good at that). We can reach outside our home, smile, and share a moment or two with our senior friends, even from six feet away.