Social isolation occurs when a person has little to no contact with anyone else. In older adults, it can be harmful to their wellbeing and lead to a variety of serious health problems, including depression, cognitive decline, and heart disease. Older New Yorkers are at higher risk of becoming socially isolated.
The Department for the Aging is working with its network of providers and City agencies to limit social isolation through multiple initiatives. They include Friendly Visiting programs, in person and virtual programs.
The Department for the Aging funds a volunteer program that is designed to build friendships and limit social isolation, called Friendly Visiting. Friendly Visiting is for traditionally homebound older adults, who have ongoing health challenges that make it difficult for them to go out. Volunteers visit the older adult in their home, on the phone, or on video to talk about shared interests and experiences, forming friendships in the process.
Volunteers are asked to make a commitment of six months or longer. They must pass a criminal background check and reference check, as well as attend an interview and training. If you would like to volunteer with Friendly Visiting or learn more, call Aging Connect at 212-244-6469, or visit our Volunteer Portal and get started! An older adult who wishes to join the program can also call Aging Connect at 212-NYC-AGING (212-244-6469).
For older New Yorkers: NYC Aging’s network of providers are offering in person and virtual programs over the phone and through video platforms like Zoom. Programs include fitness, art, and technology classes, and other creative programs. Call an older adult center near you or look up activities on the virtual program finder to learn more.
If you would like to talk to someone about stress, depression, or anxiety, you can call NYC Well. Spearheaded by the Mayor’s Office of Community Mental Health, NYC Well offers free, confidential mental health support. You can speak to a counselor via phone, text, or chat 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call 1-888-NYC-WELL (1-888-692-9355).
For all New Yorkers: Take 10 minutes to call an older relative, neighbor, and friend. Ten minutes can make a huge difference in the life of an older adult.