Nothing causes seniors to experience a greater decline in health and emotional well-being than social isolation. Producing more than just feelings of loneliness and hopelessness, social isolation makes seniors less safe, puts them at greater risk for financial, emotional, or physical abuse, and may contribute to rapid deterioration. This book offers service providers valuable tools for combating these negative outcomes.
Written in concise, easy-to-understand language, this resource will help you identify seniors in the community and in residential care whose health and well-being are in jeopardy. Learn to recognize the symptoms of social isolation and find concrete suggestions for reaching out to those living in your community — but not thriving in it. Based on decades of experience with individuals living in senior housing, the book focuses on ways to address 10 factors that lead to social isolation, including:
• Physical health problems and disabilities
• Behavioral and cognitive health issues
• Gender disparities
• Loss of partner, friends, and pets
• Minority sexual orientation
• Language barriers
Validated by research, Connecting with Socially Isolated Seniors includes findings from a large survey of older adults living in independent senior housing communities and from focus groups conducted with senior caregivers, service coordinators, and activities directors. This resulting guide highlights the role of empathy and an inclusive attitude when exploring seniors' needs — and the importance of getting to know each older adult as a unique human being — to be effective in supporting those who live alone. Facts, checklists, and a quiz help to easily identify individuals who are at risk for social isolation. Additionally, practical "How to Help" sections show how to intervene with specific, actionable suggestions.
Community-based senior housing providers, assisted living communities, area agencies on aging, and other state and regional aging services organizations will find Connecting with Socially Isolated Seniors to be an invaluable addition to their staff resources.
About the Author:
Patricia Connolly Osage has been the Director of Resident Services for six years at Satellite Housing in Berkeley, CA. Satellite is a 45-year old non-profit development agency providing affordable, service-enriched housing to the region’s lowest income seniors.
Satellite Housing has won awards for its housing design for deaf seniors as well as for its sustainable building practices. Its portfolio consists of twenty-five affordable housing communities that serve approximately 1,650 people in beautiful, affordable apartments across the San Francisco East Bay.
In total Patricia has worked for over 22 years in various human service capacities including two years working in a primary health care clinic in Yemen. She has done direct case management for a number of different demographic and special need groups and ran the services department at the Tenderloin Housing Clinic in San Francisco just before coming to Satellite. She is an expert in the field of supportive services for formerly homeless adults and low-income seniors and frequently provides national and local presentations on topics related to best practices within these service fields.
In her current position, Patricia runs Satellite Housing's large services department that consists of three major components: wheelchair accessible transit, (non-clinical) case management, and activities programming. She has developed expansive programs within both civic engagement and intergenerationally-based contexts to provide low income seniors with a wide range of opportunities for involvement with their community.
With her staff, Patricia collaboratively developed a unique logic model with the three intermediate goals for seniors of Optimum Health, Financial Stability, and Individual Well Being/Purposeful Living. The long term goal that encompasses all three: is that seniors are able to not only age in place, but to also thrive in their community.