Our health and welfare can be greatly influenced by loneliness, this is especially true in senior citizens. As compared to seniors with social networks, socially isolated seniors have up to 5 times the greater risk of hospitalization and are more likely to be victims of elder abuse.
The Lonely No More program, that was launched by Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health earlier this year, was designed to help combat social isolation in rural and at-risk seniors. Within this program, seniors and volunteer facilitators create social support networks through group phone calls and other social activities. So far, this targeted program has impacted over 250 rural seniors across four counties; Perth, Huron, Grey, and Bruce. The Lonely No More program has created positive impacts in participants and empowered 17 seniors to take on direct roles within the program such as project organizers and volunteer positions.
As reaching isolated seniors can be challenging, caregivers and family members are encouraged to learn more about the program. If you or someone you know is interested in becoming a part of the Lonely No More program, or for more information on Gateway’s other projects, visit www.gatewayruralhealth.ca.
Written by: Sarah Versteeg, Administrative Lead at Gateway Centre of Excellence in Rural Health