DON’T EVER UNDERESTIMATE THE POWER OF CONNECTION!

By Susan Kemppainen
Volunteer/Activity Program Coordinator, Mirowitz Center at Covenant Place
Temple Israel member

I recently got a message from a Ph.D. student who read a study I co-authored in 1998. Oh, the beauty of modern technology that allows anyone to be found! But can research from 22 years ago still be pertinent today? You betcha!

The study, through Washington University in St. Louis, examined the telephone as an effective way to reduce social isolation, depression, and loneliness in older adults. It was an important thing to prove; after all, the telephone is an easy, readily available, and inexpensive way to have a widespread effect on populations in need. We showed that underfunded social service agencies can use the telephone to make a positive difference in the lives of those they serve.

Fast forward to 2020. Older adults always need social connection, but now they need it more than ever before. COVID-19 has exacerbated already-existing problems for people living alone, suffering from depression, in poor health, and surviving on a fixed income.

For older adults, the telephone can literally be a lifeline. In our modern age of technology, there are many other ways to connect too: Zoom, FaceTime, Facebook and Messenger, texts, and more! We can encourage older friends and family to learn these new ways to engage. Or we can send them a letter. Put a note on a door. And never forget the benefit of a good, “old-fashioned” telephone call.

Don’t ever underestimate the power of connection. Who will you reach out to today?

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Here’s two great ways to connect!

Join the Tech Tutor Program as a community volunteer tutor or senior learner!
We connect senior learners over the telephone with a community volunteer tutor who is using the same device– iPad, Android Tablet, iPhone, Android phone, Apple computer, PC. Work one-on-one, no standard curriculum. Learn how to use Zoom, FaceTime, Facebook, Messenger, Video and more!  For more information: https://mirowitzcenter.org/2020/11/13/tech-tutor-program/

Join Temple Israel’s Pen Pal Program and make a new intergenerational friendship!
Temple Israel has older members who are going through this tough time alone, and who may not have access to a community online. We also know there are many families with school-aged kids that would love to brighten the day and foster some new relationships. If you and/or your child would like to write a letter or card to someone, or if you are a senior interested in a pen pal, please contact Rabbi Amy at afeder@ti-stl.org or 314-432-8050.

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