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Community Help Available for Isolated Seniors in ND

While volunteer levels have been affected by the pandemic, informal aid groups have formed across the country to help seniors get access to supplies and services. (Adobe Stock)
While volunteer levels have been affected by the pandemic, informal aid groups have formed across the country to help seniors get access to supplies and services. (Adobe Stock)
April 2, 2020

BISMARCK, N.D. -- As the global pandemic continues to unfold, friends and family of seniors worry about them being cut off from the rest of the world.

In North Dakota, there's a new tool to help these individuals get the help they need.

People across the country are being asked to engage in social distancing to help stop the spread of the new coronavirus.

These guidelines might result in fewer checkups on older North Dakotans.

Josh Askvig, state director of AARP North Dakota, says the agency has created an online platform where caregivers and seniors can find and facilitate help.

"It really allows users to organize and/or find these local volunteer groups that would help them get the needed resources," he points out.

The website, aarpcommunityconnections.org, gives users the opportunity to search for mutual aid groups in their community that have formed in response to the crisis.

The groups can help with a variety of needs, including grocery pick-ups, financial assistance and emotional support.

Prior to the pandemic, there already were concerns that an increasing number of seniors were feeling lonely in today's society.

Askvig says the crisis only exacerbates that problem, and that this effort will allow seniors in isolation to connect with others, even if it's just to talk.

"We have more than 600 trained volunteers across the country who are standing by, ready to call anyone who wants to hear a friendly voice -- to hear from somebody, just to check in on them and make some of those social connections that I think we're all beginning to understand how much we thrive on them," he states.

AARP also wants seniors to stay informed through trusted resources during the pandemic. To do that, it's hosting weekly telephone town halls each Thursday at noon Central Time, where anyone can call in with a question and get answers from established experts. The toll-free number to call is 1-855-274-9507.

Disclosure: AARP North Dakota contributes to our fund for reporting on Health Issues, Senior Issues. If you would like to help support news in the public interest, click here.
Mike Moen, Public News Service - ND