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Oakland County task force established to reduce social isolation among senior residents

Task force to recommend solutions to reduce social isolation, loneliness for seniors amid coronavirus pandemic

In this April 21, 2020, photo, Marguerite Mouille, 94, gestures while her visiting daughter takes a photo at the Kaisesberg nursing home, eastern France. France has started to break the seals on its locked down nursing homes, allowing limited visitation rights for the families of elderly residents. The visits are proving bittersweet for some, too short and restricted to make up for weeks of isolation and loneliness. But they are shedding light on the immense emotional toll caused by locking down care homes. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias)
In this April 21, 2020, photo, Marguerite Mouille, 94, gestures while her visiting daughter takes a photo at the Kaisesberg nursing home, eastern France. France has started to break the seals on its locked down nursing homes, allowing limited visitation rights for the families of elderly residents. The visits are proving bittersweet for some, too short and restricted to make up for weeks of isolation and loneliness. But they are shedding light on the immense emotional toll caused by locking down care homes. (AP Photo/Jean-Francois Badias) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

The Oakland County Board of Commissioners announced Tuesday a new Social Connectedness Task Force designed to reduce social isolation and loneliness among senior residents in the county amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

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Concerns about social isolation and loneliness among seniors have increased significantly amid the pandemic, as individuals are staying home to prevent the spread of the virus.

Officials say the task force, comprised of three commissioners and community experts, will meet and recommend solutions to reduce social isolation to the Board of Commissioners. Solutions might include training for internet and smartphones, improving access to mental health care, screening and wellness visits and more, officials said.

The task force says social isolation and loneliness have been linked to physical and mental health problems in seniors.

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“Research suggests that isolation and loneliness are main factors in depression, anxiety and other medical symptoms for our senior population,” said Commissioner Penny Luebs, a member of the task force. “About one third of all seniors living alone live in poverty and or poor health. We have the ability to help seniors live a good life by decreasing social isolation in today’s world. I consider it an honor and duty to help our senior population and value the wisdom and experience each person has to share with our younger population.”

The task force is operated by commissioners Luebs, Eileen T. Kowall and Kristen Nelson, chair of the task force.

Click here to learn more about Oakland County’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic on their website.

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