We Offer Programs That Create Friendships, Combat Isolation

We Offer Programs That Create Friendships, Combat Isolation

Merle Ryan, resident

Glenmeadow residents laughing together

The challenge: Even in an institutional setting, people can still feel isolated, and isolation can lead to depression, cognitive decline, and major health problems. Sometimes, older adults also like distraction. Take Merle Ryan as an example. When Merle was diagnosed with cancer several years ago, she wanted to give her time and energy to someone else as a way to cope and focus attention away from herself and her illness.

Our assist: Along with a handful of other volunteers, we trained Merle to take part in our Neighbor to Neighbor program. In its second year, it pairs people longing for socialization with friendly visitors and has been funded for the past two years by a grant from the Greater Springfield Senior Services, Inc.

The result: Merle built a relationship with a peer in Longmeadow. “You don’t realize how much I get back from doing this,” she says. “I’m getting so much out of this relationship with this person. She’s helped me too.” In its first year, we recruited about 30 Neighbor to Neighbor volunteers. In 2020, the goal is to double the number served. To refer an older adult for the program or to become a volunteer, contact Anne Thomas, our president and CEO, at 413-567-5977.

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