CHULA VISTA, Calif. — Seniors across the country are struggling to survive in the pandemic and have been the group most impacted by coronavirus in more ways than one.
Seniors have not only been hit hard during the pandemic physically. They’ve also been hit hard mentally and emotionally, dealing with feelings of isolation and separation from their loved ones. Now one advocacy group said some help is on the way.
The San Diego Seniors Community Foundation has rolled out the "No Senior Alone" initiative to address social isolation which can lead to depression, anxiety and dementia for seniors.
“We encourage people and seniors especially that are susceptible to be lonely and abandoned, and let them know that there are a lot of mechanisms and ideas on how to stay positive,” said Luis Monge, a spokesperson for San Diego Seniors Community Foundation.
Luis Monge, 82, also works at the Norman Park Senior Center in Chula Vista. The foundation reports that eight out of 10 COVID-19 deaths have been seniors over the age of 65. It said communities of color have been hit the hardest, especially low-income seniors who lack of access to devices for social connection, stable housing and nutritious food.
“The most important issue in order to stay healthy is their nutrition and what they feed their body,” Monge said.
Monge said seniors should be doing things like reading, going out into the garden, and using a computer to keep their minds occupied.
“A lot of times older folks have a tendency to underestimate their intelligence. If we can wake them up and let them know that their intelligence can keep them awake, alert and good spirits, that is one goal that is very essential to seniors’ good health,” Monge said.
Last month, the foundation was able to provide food baskets to about 400 seniors, thanks in part to a $500,000 grant they received from the Sahm Family Foundation. It would like to match that donation by raising another $500,000.
If you’d like to make a donation to the San Diego Seniors Community Foundation, click here.