Lonely man reaches into refrigerator

Resources to Combat Loneliness

COVID-19, Mental Health
Bayhealth has created a new task force to combat loneliness and its impact on patient care. Two of the Loneliness Task Force’s primary goals are connecting patients who feel lonely with resources to help them develop friendly and safe relationships and identifying barriers to these connections.

“Loneliness is identified as a reason for ER overutilization, especially for those homebound and/or disabled,” said Bayhealth Medical Group Population Health Programs Supervisor Ashley Istenes, MSN, RN, and a member of Bayhealth’s Loneliness Task Force. “Due to the current pandemic, loneliness is flourishing at an all-time high.”

To assist patients and the community and reach their goals, Bayhealth’s Loneliness Task Force members put together a list of some resources to help combat loneliness.

Adult Day Services and Centers: Adult day services support people with physical and/or mental impairments that cannot be left alone by connecting them with activities and providing other assistance. There are several adult day centers located throughout the state. You can get a list of the licensed providers of adult day services from Delaware Health and Social Services at www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhsss/dsaapd or 1-800-223-9074.

Hotlines: For some, getting connected via a phone call can help combat loneliness. The Institute on Aging’s Friendship Line, which is available 24 hours a day, is for homebound seniors or people age 60 and older who need someone to talk to. The Friendship Line may be reached at 1-800-971-0016.

Online Resources: Many organizations have created online search tools to help older adults and homebound seniors get connected to others or find resources that address loneliness. The Eldercare Locator at Eldercare.acl.gov and provided through the U.S. Administration for Community Living and the Delaware Aging and Disability Resource Center (ADRC) at Delawareadrc.com are two of these tools. The Eldercare Locator also has a toll-free number: 1-800-677-1116.

SAGEConnect offered by SAGE to help older LGBT adults address social isolation and available at Sageusa.org/resource-category/social-isolation and Connect2Affect from the AARP Foundation at Connect2affect.org are two other resources with online search tools.

Lastly, many health insurance companies provide plan participants with resources to combat loneliness, and local churches and senior centers often offer activities and support programs to help members of the community get connected to one another.

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