Norwalk, CT – Research has shown that social isolation and loneliness in older adults is linked to a higher risk of high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, depression, and even Alzheimer’s disease. But engaging in meaningful activities helps seniors live longer and have a sense of purpose. During this time of necessary social isolation to stop the spread of COVID-19, helping the elderly remain connected has been an important goal at Family & Children’s Agency (FCA). To that end, FCA college intern and Wilton resident James Mannix has been making weekly phone calls to more than 15 seniors.
James’ weekly calls have given him the opportunity to get to know the seniors in FCA’s program. “In one case I had the privilege to learn about a woman’s husband’s experience in WW2 and her children’s tenure with the military. In another call I helped a woman find a freezer chest that seemed to be sold out everywhere,” he said. Meaningful interactions like these mitigate loneliness and give the seniors something to look forward to.
James’ work with FCA has proven to be beneficial to all parties. He said speaking with FCA clients is similar to building client relationships, a skill he believes will be helpful in his future career in business. He is also carrying on his grandmother’s connection to FCA, as she was a dedicated and long-time volunteer with Minks to Sinks, the Wilton-based group which holds the twice annual tag sale to benefit FCA. James has enjoyed this opportunity so much that he has decided to continue making calls to seniors as a volunteer even when his internship ends.
“The calls James is making mean so much to seniors during this particularly difficult time,” said Ligia Masilamani, Director of FCA’s Home Care program. “Providing extra avenues of support and connection are essential to the mental and physical wellbeing of our clients.”