Senior loneliness isn’t just unpleasant; it leads to many serious health problems including an increased risk of Alzheimer’s, high blood pressure and more susceptibility to viruses. Unfortunately, fixing loneliness can be difficult for seniors, especially if they’ve reached a point where they can no longer drive and getting around is more difficult for them than it previously was.
How are you supposed to reach out and make connections when just leaving the house is an overwhelming challenge?
Senior Phone Programs Can Help
Senior phone programs give seniors a way to make connections without having to go anywhere, and they do so through a technology most seniors are already comfortable with: telephones.
If a senior is still hesitant to consider getting a computer or learning social media, that doesn’t mean they have to stay disconnected from the larger world. These programs allow seniors to call in and find people to talk to. They can make connections and have conversations without ever leaving their home or having to learn a new technology. Many of the programs also let seniors participate together in phone classes where they can learn about and try new things with their colleagues from afar.
Some senior phone programs specifically serve local areas, so it may be worth doing some research to see if there’s one in your area that didn’t make it onto our list. But here are a few worth checking out:
DOROT provides telephone programs that seniors can sign up for that function much like small classes. You’ll join discussion groups of up to 12 people that are led by an expert on the subject in question. They offer hundreds of these classes each year in a wide variety of subjects, so you can explore a topic area new to you while making new connections at the same time. To find out more about the available programs or get started, you can call 877–819–9147.
2. Lifetime Connection Without Walls
The Family Eldercare program Lifetime Connection Without Walls is another service that offers classes seniors can access over the phone. The classes are lead by volunteers and cover a wide array of subjects. Each session lasts 13 weeks and seniors can pay $10 for unlimited access to all the courses, or $5 if they just want to try out one. If you’d like to learn more or register over the phone, you can call 888-500-6472.
3. Senior Center Without Walls
Senior Center Without Walls is a California-based program with classes and discussion groups that bring seniors together over the phone. Not all of them are about learning a new topic. For instance, one of the most popular phone groups gets together over the phone each day to share something they’re grateful for. Participants can start their own groups if they want, as well as joining in on those that already exist. For more information or to register by phone, you can call 877-797-7299.
4. Senior Friendship Line
The Institute on Aging offers a Senior Friendship Line that anyone can call toll free at 800-971-0016. The friendship line is available 24 hours a day and you can both call in whenever you like and receive calls from them. The people on the other end of the line will provide emotional support, check in on your well being and provide any needed counseling. The main goal of the line is suicide prevention, but it can be a resource worth trying out when you feel lonely, even if you’re not at risk of suicide.
If you’re tired of feeling alone in your home, without anyone to talk to, these programs can be just the lifeline you need. Make some new connections, learn some new information and have something to look forward to. You don’t have to accept loneliness and you shouldn’t.