Seniors are among the most vulnerable to the novel coronavirus, and many are staying at home to protect themselves from COVID-19.
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — The holiday season usually brings a range of emotions from joy to depression, but the pandemic has added another concern: isolation.
Seniors are among the most vulnerable, and many are staying at home to protect themselves from COVID-19.
“We miss being with our friends,” said Mimi Kaufman.
Kaufman, 85, and her husband have decided to stay at home until the pandemic is over.
“My best friend now is Amazon,” she said. “I may never go into another mall.”
They have become very tech-savvy and use video conferencing services to stay connected to their family members.
“With Zoom we all get together,” Kaufman said. “We’re having a Hanukkah party next week with everybody by Zoom.”
Linda Levin is Kaufman’s daughter and has seen how the virus has impacted their lifestyle.
“My parents are in their 80s, very healthy and active, and always attend meetings, and now they’re not,” said Levin.
Levin is also the executive director of Eldersource, a nonprofit that supports the elderly.
Levin said they have watched how COVID-19 has impacted seniors
“It can take a toll on a persons emotional well-being, creating a sense of isolation,” she said.
The nonprofit has received a number of calls from seniors in one emotional state or another.
“We do hear from seniors quite a bit (that) they’re ready to get out. They’re ready to be with their families,” Levin said.
She said Eldersource is providing services to help them cope during the pandemic.
Among its programs is the Caring Connections Telephone Reassurance Program, where volunteers call weekly to provide a familiar and comforting voice, along with the Virtual Support Caregiver Program.
They are working with the Department of Elder Affairs to bring awareness to available support.
During Thanksgiving, they launched ‘Together Apart: Holidays at Heart’ campaign.
“If someone is feeling lonely and depressed, they can call our help line,” Levin said.
The number is 1-888- 242-4464 or 1-800-96-ELDER.
Kaufman said looking back on the year 2020, this is not what they expected, but they are grateful and glad for the technology that keeps them connected to their loved ones.
“Everything is different. Our life is different,” Kaufman said.