The following is a press release AARP Massachuetts
BOSTON – Even in the best of times, social isolation is a significant problem. In Massachusetts, 540,250 people over the age of 50 live alone and are at higher risk of social isolation, which is now magnified by the “social distancing” requirements across the country.
AARP Massachusetts, in partnership with U. Mass. Boston and 25 community partners, will launch the #ReachOutMA campaign on Good Neighbor Day, September 28.
Activities to combat loneliness and raise awareness of social isolation will continue throughout the week, leading up to a virtual summit on October 1 from 10 am to noon to determine strategies to end loneliness and build community.
“Loneliness and social isolation impacts up to 50% of older adults,” said AARP Massachusetts Task Force to End Loneliness & Build Community Chairwoman Sandra Harris. “We know that, in big and small ways, we can make each other’s days a little bit brighter through the #ReachOutMA campaign.” Harris also serves as the volunteer State President of AARP Massachusetts.
Here are some ways to get involved. Send a photo or post of your activity and tag #ReachOutMA with the ways you are being a good neighbor.
· Wave to a neighbor
· Compliment a stranger
· Invite someone to participate
· Write a letter or card to a neighbor
· Pick up the phone
· Be a good listener
· Share your talent and passions with the community
· Challenge yourself to reach out to one person each day
· Know what is happening locally in your community
For more information on the #ReachOutMA campaign and how you can get involved, visit www.aarp.org/reachoutma and follow us on Facebook/Twitter @AARPMA
· Measure your risk for isolation – or that of your loved one – at AARP Foundation’s Connect2Affect.org. This platform also provides lists of community assistance programs for medical care, food, and job training.
· Visit www.reachoutma.com for more information and resources on social isolation and taskforce work
· Plug into the growing number of mutual aid groups that organize volunteers to assist older neighbors by, for example, picking up prescriptions or going grocery shopping for them. AARP recently launched the “Community Connections” tool, also in Spanish at www.aarp.org/MiComunidad, to help you find a group in your area. You can also request a “friendly call” from an AARP volunteer through the website or by calling 1-888-281-0145.
· Identify vulnerable older adults in your family or neighborhood and make a plan to have someone reach out to them on a regular basis by phone, text, email or virtual chat. This is an excellent opportunity to introduce someone unacquainted with Zoom, Skype or Facetime to this new method of communication.