To the Editor:
Over the last few years, we have seen a growing number of Americans experiencing social isolation and loneliness. New studies show that social isolation and loneliness can be as harmful to your health as smoking. In Maine, over 135,000 people 50 and older live alone and are at a higher risk of experiencing social isolation. In addition, many Mainers currently do not have access to high-speed internet and are left with little or no connection to family and friends. The COVID-19 pandemic has shed an even brighter light on the challenges many Mainers are facing as they lack personal connections to family, friends and neighbors.
At AARP Maine, we want you to know you are not alone. We have gathered helpful resources that are available to Mainers who may experience loneliness this winter, as well as a resource guide for caregivers. Resources include AARP Friendly Voice calls, technology trainings, volunteer opportunities, and more. For caregivers, our guide provides a starting point to help you find the support you need throughout your caregiving journey, including government and nonprofit resources both in-person and online. Both guides are available at aarp.org/me.
We are all in this together! If you have a friend or neighbor who lives alone, consider checking in on them by phone or text, or leave a friendly note at their door. Visit our website for more health and long-term care resources, news and updates and events. If you have any questions, email us at [email protected] or call us at (866) 554-5380.
AARP Maine advocacy and outreach director