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PNS Daily News - December 16, 2019 


Sen. Chuck Schumer calls for four specific witnesses in Senate impeachment trial; giving Iowans with disabilities a voice in caucuses; and an expert says Seasonal Affective Disorder is a lot more than just the holiday blues.

2020Talks - December 16, 2019 


Sen. Cory Booker led the charge asking the DNC to ease up debate qualification requirements. All seven candidates who made the cut for Thursday's debate say they won't participate in the debate at Loyola Marymount in LA if it means crossing the picket line of Unite Here Local 11.

Helping SD Seniors Avoid Social Isolation over Holidays

Social isolation can have the same negative impact on an older adult's health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, according to Dr. Sonja Rosen at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. (geralt/Pixabay)
Social isolation can have the same negative impact on an older adult's health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day, according to Dr. Sonja Rosen at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. (geralt/Pixabay)
November 25, 2019

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – Nearly half of adult Americans say they feel alone, according to research by the health care provider Cigna, and the holidays can exacerbate that loneliness.

But there are ways South Dakotans can help.

Kristin Fox is the director of Senior Companions of South Dakota, a program that matches volunteers with people over 55 who need in-home assistance and respite care.

As the days grow shorter and temperatures plunge, Fox says many seniors – especially those who live in rural areas – can feel left out.

"It is a hard time for a lot of people, but especially with seniors who are perhaps isolated already,” Fox points out. “So, I would suggest whatever it takes to get out and about and continue being part of the community."

In addition to volunteering, experts recommend group exercise classes, book clubs, visiting libraries, museums and places of worship, as ways to avoid isolation.

Fox adds that the holidays also are a good excuse to call loved ones and catch up, and to make self-care a priority.

Folks who volunteer for the Senior Companions program can help their clients prevent or delay long-term care placement and increase their ability to live independently, according to Fox, and those who are served also report reduced stress levels.

"Families are busy, and even if there is family nearby, it's hard to always be there for that loved one,” she states. “So, just knowing that their companion is coming to visit on Tuesday afternoons can just really make a difference."

Fox says the Senior Companion currently has 60 volunteers and serves 250 individuals across South Dakota, and there's a big waiting list in Sioux Falls and Rapid City for those who would like a companion.

Volunteers receive an hourly stipend, mileage reimbursement and other benefits.

Information about how to apply for the program is available on the Good Samaritan Society website.

Roz Brown, Public News Service - SD