Breaking the Cycle of Loneliness and Depression Among Seniors

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Remember how isolated we all felt during the pandemic? Remember wanting to go somewhere, but everything was closed?

Even though I was home with my wife and our dog, there were many days I felt isolated and depressed. On those days, a call from my daughter would perk me up. In fact, a call from just about anybody would lift my spirits. Afterall, we need human connection.

Depression, loneliness and mental health for older adults

We are facing a new kind of epidemic, and it took Covid-19 to reveal just how many seniors are suffering from depression, loneliness and other mental health issues. It’s not just during the pandemic that seniors suffered from loneliness; for many it’s an everyday occurrence.

Hundreds of older adults in our community are homebound. They would love to get out of the house, chat with friends, attend a worship service, or just hear the voice of another human being. Many don’t have transportation. Many aren’t physically able walk outside, and many live in areas that don’t have safe sidewalks. Many don’t have family members who drop by, or kids who call to check in.

When people are lonely, they get depressed. When people get depressed, that can lead to a whole array of other mental and physical illnesses. In short, loneliness is not healthy.

New program to address loneliness and mental health issues for seniors

Today, I’m thrilled to tell you about a grant CICOA received from the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration and Division of Mental Health and Addiction. The goal is to break the cycle of loneliness and depression among seniors, and at the heart of the program will be partnerships with other community organizations, working together to address this issue.

While we have resources in place to help CICOA clients who have a medical diagnosis mental illness—such as clinical depression, bi-polar disease or schizophrenia—this new program will work to identify hundreds of others who are suffering in silence.

Unfortunately, a stigma is attached to mental illness, and seniors often are too proud to admit they may be depressed or lonely. For some, a weekly call can make a huge difference. For others, we need to offer more innovative solutions.

The grant provides programming for two years, so we’re being mindful about creating innovative solutions that helps seniors not only today but also in 2025 and beyond. The epidemic of loneliness is not going away.

I applaud Leslie Huckleberry, director of the Division of Aging at the Indiana Family and Social Services Administration, and her team for their foresight and provision to help CICOA and Indiana’s area agencies on aging fight loneliness and depression among seniors.

Our seniors deserve better, and CICOA is on a mission to do something about it. Ready to partner? Let’s talk.


MENTAL HEALTH IS A SERIOUS ISSUE

Join our cause to break the cycle of loneliness


CICOA President and CEO Tauhric Brown
Tauhric Brown

As President and CEO, Tauhric Brown uses his strategic vision and experience in the elderly and disability service industry to expand CICOA services and collaborative partnerships to better meet the needs of the vulnerable populations we serve. Before joining CICOA, Brown served as the chief operating officer for Senior Services, Inc. in Kalamazoo, Mich. His career started in the U.S. Army, and then he became a successful owner/operator for a multi-carrier wireless retail company. Inspired by his family and upbringing, he made the switch to the nonprofit world to fulfill his dream of improving the lives of others.


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