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We're Still Here

Wed, May 29, 2019

Elise Granata

Elise Granata - Brand & Community Experience Manager

Help Fight Senior Loneliness With These 4 Volunteer Opportunities

In a given week, how many people do you talk to? You text your sister every day. Joke with coworkers over lunch. Catch up with an old friend while strolling on West Cliff. Without realizing it, you probably engage with dozens of people every week.

For 20% of seniors over 75 in Santa Cruz County, that number looks a lot different. Most weeks, they speak to just one person. Most months, they are visited by one person.

This isolation leads to a kind of loneliness that increases mortality and rapidly decreases quality of life. And it’s even more acute for monolingual, LGBTQ+, and severely disabled elders.

The antidote is simple: human connection. That’s what inspired us to build the exhibition We’re Still Here: Stories of Seniors & Social Isolation. We wanted to highlight this issue, tell important stories, and most importantly– share how anyone can help.

You’ll find an entire wall dedicated to these actions in the show itself; check out the full list here.

Below, here are a few actions specifically related to volunteering time. Whether you have an afternoon or an hour, these volunteer opportunities are the perfect way to impact senior loneliness in Santa Cruz County.

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1. Teach Art to Seniors

Friendly human contact of any kind is the best way to combat loneliness. Use your creative side to help others by leading an art class for seniors. Learn more here.

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2. Sew Seniors’ Clothes at Mending Bee

Clothes aren’t meant to last forever, but seniors may not have the money or ability to replace their duds when they’re in need of mending. Help restore senior clothes at Mending Bee and e-mail them here: info@villagesantacruz.org

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3. Volunteer at a Care Facility

Be the friendly face for a senior not visited by family or friends in a local care facility. Your presence will be a guaranteed highlight in their week, we promise. Details here.

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4. Lead a Gardening Group

No matter your age, there’s a meditative glow you get from coaxing life into plants. Cultivate that feeling in others in a sunny afternoon of gardening. Learn more here.

Looking for other ways to help? See the full list of opportunities with We’re Still Here online here.

Visit the Exhibition

Check out the wall of actions in person until January 12, 2020.