Family gatherings are more commonplace in December, and older adults without families can experience more acute social isolation. Since isolation is both a risk factor for and a consequence of elder abuse, we decided to ask you - our social media followers and colleagues - to commit to speaking with an older adult in December. Our hope was that, by sharing this campaign, we could support older adults and contribute towards the prevention of elder abuse during the 2017 holiday season. More →
NYCEAC is #CounteringIsolation
During the holiday season, family gatherings are more commonplace and yet older adults can experience more acute social isolation. Isolation is both a risk factor and a consequence of elder abuse. Older adults who are isolated are at greater risk of elder abuse, fraud, and scams. This is a great time to purposely connect with older adults. Get involved to help prevent elder abuse going into the holiday seasons. Read below for ways to get involved, resources, and more.
Get involved! Start #CounteringIsolation.
Commit to connecting with an older adult in your community during the month of December, and ask others to do the same. Will you join us in #CounteringIsolation? If yes, there are three ways you can be involved:
- Commit to connecting with an older adult in December.
- Publicize your commitment to a conversation and a connection by sharing this graphic to Facebook, Linkedin, Twitter, Instagram, and other channels. (Download it from this page by clicking on image below, then right-click to save as an image to your device.)
- Share your experience to our Facebook page, and join the community of others #CounteringIsolation.
Use the hashtag #counteringisolation so we can reshare it, too!
Your Experience #CounteringIsolation (also shared on Facebook)
We asked our community to share their experiences #CounteringIsolation. Here is what they shared.
From Lucy P.
“My daughter lives across the street from a lovely 101 year old man named Luke who doesn’t feel willing and physically able to leave his home during the holidays. The first time I visited with him, it was clear that we were meant to be friends. Now I make a point to go visit him whenever I am at my daughter’s home celebrating a holiday. I bring him a plate of food and we visit for hours. I’m so grateful for Luke and he’s told me multiple times that he too cherishes our friendship.”
From Risa B.
“Checked in with an elderly neighbor. His health waning, he tries to keep his spirits up. He commented to me though that he notices, “I’m wise, but people think because of my age, otherwise.” Am thankful to him for sharing his experiences and insights. So important: #counteringageism”
From Sherrill W.
“In the LGBT community our friends often become our families of choice. I visited with a dear friend of mine who drove 400 miles to be at the hospital with his friend and chosen family member who has cancer and is entering hospice. I shared that holding a hand and sharing memories lets our loved ones know we care. Even when distance may separate us…our bonds remind us that we are not alone as we counter isolation.”
From Bénédicte S.
“A few years ago, my partner and I reached out to, and eventually befriended, our direct neighbour, an older adult named Alma. Alma was a bit on the prickly side, she seemed to constantly smoke on her back porch, and usually gave us the ”I am quietly judging you” look, while we walked by. We knocked on Alma’s door on Christmas eve with some treats, with no idea whether we would be welcome or not. It turns out she had a sweet tooth and we started chatting. Alma was quite literally a living part of Vancouver’s history. Her parents had settled in Vancouver in the very early 20th century and had opened the Ivanhoe hotel (which still exists, right next to the train station). After this Christmas visit, she would wave at us and even smile and chat from the back porch.”
From Leanne M.
“I, along with others, made dozens of Christmas cards for a wonderful charity dedicated to tackling loneliness and social isolation of our elders through face-to-face contact. They will hand out the cards with our personal messages at a Christmas Tea Party!”
Share your #CounteringIsolation experiences in the comments below!
Countering Isolation Resources
Want to know more about #CounteringIsolation? We compiled helpful resources to help raise awareness of isolation in older adult populations. Feel free to share these resources in December as well.
- NYCEAC: Increasing Social Integration and Preventing Elder Abuse
- Wall Street Journal: The Government’s Role in Combatting Loneliness
- USA Today: Why Do We Feel So Lonely
- Canadian Report on the Social Isolation of Seniors
- CNA Insider: An Unexpected Friendship – Video
- McMaster University: Loneliness and Social Isolation are Important Health Risks in the Elderly
- AARP: Framework for Isolation in Adults Over 50
- NIH: Loneliness, Isolation and the Health of Older Adults
- Next Avenue: Loneliness: A Growing Health Threat for Older Adults
- New York Times: How Social Isolation is Killing Us
- Sage USA: Social Isolation for GLBT Elders
- Forbes: Loneliness Might Be A Bigger Health Risk Than Smoking Or Obesity
- Movement Advancement Project: LGBT Older Adults and Social Isolation
- AARP Foundation: Connect2Affect
- New York Times: How Loneliness Affects Our Health