Loneliness has become one of the biggest negative health issues during the pandemic in Michigan.

The pandemic has changed the way that we interact with each other, and in many cases, it has limited interaction all together. Many of us have adjusted to the social distancing by using zoom and other video conferencing programs. The problem with tech like this is that many seniors are not comfortable using something so unfamiliar.

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With some of the senior population, the turn toward tech to help solve the problem might actually make it worse.

Imagine living alone, and not being comfortable with learning new tech. Now you are dealing with the loneliness that you had in the beginning, and the frustration of trying to learn a completely new piece of technology. This was the case for my mother and I during the initial parts of the pandemic. She lives in an extremely rural part of Michigan, and has very poor internet connectivity. Even trying to facetime with her so she could see her grandkids turned into a frustrating experience.

Mid Michigan Health is introducing a new program at helping seniors deal with the loneliness issues that the pandemic has brought on. The Bridge To Belonging is a virtual program set up to help teach seniors strategies deal with loneliness. Some of the topics that will be covered are listed below.

  • Increasing positive behaviors
  • Addressing negative thoughts
  • Challenging social anxiety
  • Relaxation strategies
  • How to practice these ideas while adjust for lifestyle changes with COVID-19

The first meeting is Tuesday March 16th at 2pm, and there will be meetings every Tuesday through April 13th. You can register for the Zoom meetings here.

While this program doesn't fix all of the problems, especially concerning the issues with technology learning and poor internet connectivity, it is a great start. Loneliness can easily be written off, but the negative impacts are real, and it should never be ignored. I hope anyone that needs help, will take advantage of this program.

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