PODCAST: Combating older adults' loneliness during COVID – and beyond

The COVID-19 pandemic has been especially frightening for older adults. The risk of severe illness or death from COVID-19 increases with age for people over 50 years old, and people aged 85 and older are the most likely to get very sick. COVID-19 has also exacerbated social isolation, which was already elevated among older adults long before the pandemic arrived. However, the pandemic has also shone a spotlight on the challenges older adults and their caregivers face, and as a result, it's prompted the creation of many new programs to improve care for older adults.

On this week's episode of Michigan's State of Health, we sat down with Dr. Kathy Dollard and Meghan Dahl of MidMichigan Health to discuss Bridge to Belonging, a program that they created – and then adapted during the pandemic – to help combat social isolation among older adults. Join us as we discuss how the pandemic raised awareness of isolation and other issues older adults face, the transformative effects Bridge to Belonging has had on program participants, and how to continue supporting older adults beyond the pandemic.

Michigan's State of Health is a spinoff of the State of Health series of feature stories, which you can read here. Michigan's State of Health is produced by Issue Media Group and made possible through the support of the Michigan Health Endowment Fund.

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