Council on Aging tackles social isolation in online symposium

Written by on March 23, 2021

Council on Aging tackles social isolation in online symposium

By Hayden Mitman

March 22, 2021

Photo by Marcus Aurelius from Pexels

Before COVID-19, social isolation was already a serious issue for elderly Pennsylvanians. 

It’s only grown worse in quarantine. 

Listen to the story.

The state’s Council on Aging is hosting online symposiums this week aimed at helping those who care for the elderly.  

Faith Haeussler, executive director of the Pennsylvania Council on Aging, says it’s important to know when seniors need help. 

“Once somebody is socially isolated, and not engaged in their communities, it’s harder to bring them back out. That can lead to loneliness, depression and terrible physical health outcomes,” Haeussler says.  

But with vaccine distribution picking up, seniors will soon be able to be more active, and it’s important to help seniors re-enter society. This two-day event will provide ways to help seniors emerge from social isolation, she says. 

“It’s critically important that we are talking about this as we are trying to re-engage older adults and things are opening back up and it’s becoming more of a safe environment.,” Haeussler says.

There will also be a focus on the needs of Asian Americans, as a mass murder in Georgia has highlighted ongoing racism against that community. 

“Asian Pacific American older adults have already got so many barriers stacked against them. We need to arm ourselves with good tools on how to understand the community and reach the community so those folks don’t become more isolated,” Haeussler says.  

There will also be panels addressing the needs of minority and LGBT communities.

The free online event begins at 9 a.m. March 23 and 24. To register and attend online, visit Aging.Pa.Gov

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