Encore Cleveland helps keep older adults connected during the pandemic

Photo of older adult man at home

Effective social distancing helps protect everyone from COVID-19, but the practice comes with its own emotional and mental side effects—the potential for disconnection and loneliness. These can be even more pronounced for older adults, a population often at a higher risk for social isolation.

Encore Cleveland, a program that coordinates volunteer and second-act career opportunities launched by the Cleveland Foundation in 2013, is finding ways to keep older adults in Northeast Ohio safely connected during the pandemic.

Fairhill Partners, a member of the Encore network, connects people to opportunities for lifelong learning, intergenerational relationships and successful aging. In response to COVID-19, the organization is offering remote Chronic Disease Self-Management workshops. Free of charge, the program includes six weekly half-hour phone conference calls with trained facilitators. Participants exchange ideas while leaders reinforce learning. Call (216) 421-1350 ext. 184 to register.

The organization has also compiled a list of stay-at-home resources and activities, which includes advice on staying active and engaged with family and the community while following social distancing guidelines.

The Cleveland Leadership Center’s Legacy Leaders program has continued to offer programming virtually throughout the COVID-19 crisis. Its volunteer community of experienced civic leaders has moved its Education Conversations, grant-writing workshops and advising activities to virtual platforms so that volunteers can stay engaged with their work.

The Greater Cleveland Neighborhood Centers Association, a recent addition to the Encore Network, is offering a tech education program called iConnect specifically designed to help individuals over 55 keep connected via phone and digital platforms. Call (216) 298-4440 ext. 23 or email gcnca.oh@gmail.com to register.

In honor of Older Americans Month in May, the Cuyahoga County Division of Senior and Adult Services is collecting and showcasing favorite recipes and memories with a special blog, “Nostalgic Nourishment.”

And Greater Cleveland Volunteers is continuing to identify opportunities and connect volunteers—including older adults—to activities that can be undertaken while maintaining social distance.