FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
YOLO HEALTHY AGING ALLIANCE
PHONE FRIENDS FOR SENIORS WHILE STAYING AT HOME
Current health recommendations require everyone to stay home to stay safe. In particular, seniors may be more likely to be socially isolated and are most at risk for adverse outcomes if exposed to COVID-19. To support those seniors isolated at home, the Yolo Healthy Aging Alliance announces a new program - “YHAA Phone Friends for Seniors” - to decrease isolation and connect seniors to needed services.
Because seniors are at high risk of suffering more serious effects if they are infected by the COVID-19 virus, public health officials recommend that seniors stay home and avoid going to places where public interaction occurs. Even with “senior hours” established by some of our local markets and pharmacies to make it safer for them to shop, many seniors can’t easily get groceries and prescribed medications. Loneliness and its common counterparts, anxiety and depression, also can begin to emerge during isolation. The health and well-being of our senior community is the top priority for the Yolo Healthy Aging Alliance.
The Yolo Healthy Aging Alliance is now accepting senior participants to receive calls and volunteers to make calls during this period of sheltering in place due to COVID-19. YHAA will then match these “phone friends” for daily social check ins. Seniors will be matched with volunteers from the same community. Along with socializing, volunteers also will help to ensure that their senior friend has the food and medicine that they need. YHAA will be assisting with connecting seniors to home delivery services for food and medication to make sure they remain safe during these difficult times.
The YHAA Phone Friends for Seniors program will operate until the COVID-19 shelter in place guidance is lifted, and beyond if seniors have an ongoing desire for the social connections that will be created with phone friends.
Sheila Allen, Executive Director of the YHAA, reports “Over the past ten years, YHAA has successfully brought more than 90 local organizations together to collaborate on how best to serve our senior community in coordinated ways. Networks are strong and the YHAA Phone Friends for Seniors program builds on that collaboration to further serve the older adults in Yolo County through direct outreach during this challenging time.
Seniors and volunteers interested in participating in the YHAA Phone Friends for Seniors program may register on the YHAA website at https://www.yolohealthyaging.org/phone-friend-forms or may call 530-757-5583 to sign up.
The Yolo Healthy Aging Alliance encourages all seniors in our community to stay informed about COVID-19 by regularly checking the reliable updates from our local county public health agency, the state and the Centers for Disease Control by visiting our home page: www.yolohealthyaging.org. We have also posted local resources.