FISH OF SANCAP, the islands social service organization, is resuming its Reassurance Call Program which has been on hold since Hurricane Ian. Residents and visitors can sign up to receive a friendly phone call from a FISH team member or volunteer. Calls are provided on a frequency determined by the participant – daily, weekly or whatever frequency is preferred.
FISH is keenly focused on the unique circumstances and potential challenges to everyday life of seniors, including loneliness and health and well-being. In a recent ABC News article by Emma Egan, US Surgeon General calls for action regarding the ongoing ‘epidemic of loneliness and isolation’ — Recent research shows half of U.S. adults experienced loneliness daily, attention is called to the public health crisis of loneliness, isolation, and lack of connection in the United States. The Surgeon General report cites recent research showing that approximately half of U.S. adults experienced loneliness daily, and highlights that a lack of social connection can present significant health risks, as loneliness can increase risk of premature death by 26% and social isolation by 29%. According to the report, insufficient social connection has also been linked to an increased risk of heart disease, stroke, anxiety, depression and dementia.[i]
The FISH Reassurance Call program provides a telephone call to an older adult who is living alone and/or homebound. The goal is to reduce isolation and loneliness and provide a friendly check-in. “Many of the seniors in our community are without family or friends nearby, especially since the hurricane forced so many to move to alternate locations while their homes are being repaired or rebuilt,” says Erika Broyles, FISH Senior Services Director. “We want to provide a meaningful opportunity for our seniors to feel connected to the community through an informal and fun conversation. We hope to empower our seniors through this program to stay connected and to develop community relationships that can help combat loneliness.”
FISH notes in 2022, the organization provided 1,632 reassurance calls to island seniors. If you or someone you know would benefit from the Reassurance Call program, please contact Erika Broyles, Senior Services Director, 239.472.4775 or firstname.lastname@example.org.