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Combating Seniors' Isolation During The COVID-19 Outbreak

Families and friends are finding alternative ways to connect in response to stay-at-home orders as a result of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Heathzib | Flickr

Even before the outbreak of COVID-19 forced mass social distancing — keeping friends and family members apart for the sake of their health — many seniors felt isolated, particularly those living in nursing homes and assisted living communities.

For those who were already lonely or isolated, things are likely to get worse in the months ahead, as caregivers find themselves overwhelmed and strained and as social distancing recommendations remain in place. 

So what are some steps friends and family can take to make sure seniors are not only healthy, but avoid falling into despair?

On Wednesday’s St. Louis on the Air, Marla Berg-Weger, the executive director of St. Louis University’s Geriatric Education Center, shared ways to support seniors at this critical time without putting them at greater risk of contracting COVID-19.

St. Louis resident Regina Stewart joined the program to talk about her work facilitating group meetings among seniors in her building. The meetings are part of the Circle of Friends program, which is a collaboration between Community Health in Partnership and the St. Louis Housing Authority.

Hear the conversation:

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan and Joshua Phelps. The engineer is Aaron Doerr, and production assistance is provided by Charlie McDonald.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.

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Emily is the senior producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.
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