Editor’s note: This is the fourth article in a series on how loneliness and isolation are affecting seniors at home. It stems from writer Diane Eastabrook’s participation in the 2021 Age Boom Academy, a free training fellowship of the Columbia Journalism School and the Mailman School of Public Health. Read the series here.
New York City’s EmblemHealth has been on the front lines of street-level healthcare since the Great Depression of the 1930s. The nonprofit — which provides health insurance, primary care and community care centers to 3.4 million low income residents — noticed a concerning trend developing months before the COVID-19 pandemic sent the Big Apple into lockdown.
“A number of our neighborhood care team members were seeing loneliness, social isolation and a variety of ways to describe the same thing,” EmblemHealth CEO Karen Ignagni told McKnight’s Home Care Daily Pulse. “People would come into our facilities because they wanted company, they wanted someone to talk with, they wanted a cup of coffee. They were just looking for social interaction.