4 Seniors: Services to fight loneliness in Oklahoma City metro area

4 Seniors

OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – The COVID-19 pandemic has impacted us is many ways.

From changes in lifestyle habits, to business closures, to loss of work, to, most tragically, loss of life – the effects of COVID-19 are felt across Oklahoma.

Many Oklahomans have refrained from social gatherings to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and help save lives.

The loneliness experienced during the pandemic can certainly take a toll.

Medical evidence shows that loneliness can be as damaging to one’s health as obesity and smoking.

Sixty-one percent of adults in the United States said they felt lonely prior to the pandemic. The closures and social distancing during the pandemic may have exacerbated the danger.

Some doctors are prescribing social interaction as people get vaccinated against the virus.

Photo goes with story
Janine Blezien, foreground left, and Dianne Green, right, laugh after meeting in person for the first time at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago on Wednesday, March 17, 2021, accompanied by Rush staff members Eve Escalante and Padraic Stanley. Blezien, a nurse at Rush, and Green, a retiree, got to know each other by phone the previous year through the hospital’s “friendly caller” program, for which Blezien is a volunteer. The program is aimed at combatting loneliness, which has been exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. Green calls Blezien her “angel.” (AP Photo/Martha Irvine)

In Chicago, a friendly caller program made two strangers living alone – Dianne Green and Janine Blezien – feel like old friends.

“You know, I think Dianne helps me as much as I help her,” Blezien said. “So, I think we have a very reciprocal relationship. So, I give you a lot of credit for it, for keeping me from feeling isolated, too.”

The Oklahoma City metro also has programs to help local seniors combat loneliness.

Jeff Aynes, Director of Business Development with Synergy Home Care, joined KFOR via Zoom on Wednesday to share information about numerous senior services, including programs to fight loneliness.

Watch the above video for more information about those services.

Synergy Homecare has operated in the metro for eight years. You can learn more about their services, focused on helping seniors physically and emotionally, at SynergyHomeCare.com.

Continued Coronavirus Coverage

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