Earn 1.00 hr. CEU, pre-approved for Social Workers by BOSW; self-submit other disciplines.
MGS is an approved Continuing Education Resource by the MN Board of Nursing.
(The CEU is free for MGS members; $15 for non-members.)
By: Georgia Afton, MFA, Community Outreach Director, Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly
In midst of the busyness of our day-to-day work on behalf of older adults, this presentation offers an opportunity to pause and reflect on an issue that reaches into the very heart of our work. It begs the question: Is elder loneliness and isolation fact, fiction or epidemic? Unpacking the answer, leads us to consider various states of being associated with “being alone,” and how isolation creates a circle of loss. Isolation risk factors along with societal impacts and the COVID-19 factor will weave their way into our discussion. We will also look at questions such as: How can we measure isolation and assess the degree to which it is present in the lives of the elders we work among? What causes elder isolation and what solutions can we call on to remedy it? Your voices matter in this conversation, and we expect lively participation and answers to unfold from our shared expertise and experience as learn from each other.
- To explore and define loneliness and isolation and their impact on older adult health and well-being
- To examine how we can identify loneliness among clients
- To incorporate studies and statistics that illustrate the significant role loneliness and isolation play in the quality of elder life
- To reflect on friendship as an antidote to loneliness and share other ideas and solutions
Georgia Afton takes her professional work in elder services personally. She originally with worked for her current employer – Little Brothers – Friends of the Elderly (LBFE) – from 1999 to 2003 as the organization’s development and communications director. To this day, she cherishes the memory of several Elder Friends made during those years who added joy, meaning and wisdom to her life. Those friendships, coupled with navigating her own parents’ elder years from overseas, drew her back to LBFE in 2015. She now serves as the organization’s community outreach director and is happy to, once again, embrace the work of ending elder loneliness and isolation through the power of friendship. Georgia’s previous nonprofit work has included communications and development roles with Nonviolent Peaceforce and Clare Housing. She earned a B.A. from University of Minnesota and an M.F.A. from Hamline University.
Sources and Resources:
- AARP Isolation Assessment: How Connected Is the Older Adult You Know?
- AARP Connect to Affect: https://connect2affect.org/
- Framework for Isolation in Adults over 50
- Senior Linkage Line: https://www.seniorlinkageline.com/
- Optimal Aging Portal (Canada): https://www.mcmasteroptimalaging.org/blog/detail/professionals-blog/2016/04/08/loneliness-and-social-isolation-are-important-health-risks-in-the-elderly
- Cigna: U.S. Loneliness Index
- How do you identify or recognize the most lonely (UK)
- Listening to elders’ stories: Transforming nursing students’ perceptions about gerontology nursing