Local Nonprofit Tackles Loneliness Epidemic

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Local Nonprofit Tackles Loneliness Epidemic
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Source: Adventures in Caring

Generation Z (ages 18-22) is the loneliest generation according to the CIGNA U.S. Loneliness Index (2018). College age students have the highest loneliness scores, and more than 50% of chronically ill seniors in local long-term care centers have no visitors.

Adventures in Caring puts the two generations together to combat the social isolation that afflicts them both. (Social isolation is as harmful to health as smoking fifteen cigarettes a day.)

“More than a volunteer program” explains longtime Executive Director, Simon Fox “this is a year-long service-learning internship. It is for students who are planning to pursue careers in health care.” Now, undergraduates from UCSB are stepping up to help lead it.

“For the first time in its 35-year history, Adventures in Caring is shifting responsibility to an on-campus student leadership team” says Krishna Balagopal, the Outreach Committee Chair.

The team is recruiting, coaching, and supervising sixty volunteer interns who befriend six hundred local seniors isolated by illness, throughout the school year. All student interns learn how to communicate with compassion, a core skill needed by all future doctors, nurses and health professionals. The leadership team is learning to build a program that teaches it.

The interns don’t just give of their time. They sacrifice their own ego by wearing the program’s signature Raggedy Ann and Andy uniforms—to become better listeners who are safe to confide in. They are always huggable, easily recognized and vividly remembered, even by those with Alzheimer’s disease.

Jesse Basra, the head of the Program Documentation Committee says, “We have the opportunity to rediscover the positive impact students can have on the community, and to evaluate ways that we can become better listeners.” 

Adventures in Caring Foundation, founded in 1984, is a nonprofit 501(c)3 based in Santa Barbara, CA. It’s two-fold mission is to: 1) Restore well-being for those who are isolated by illness and 2) Advance doctoring, nursing, and caregiving by teaching how compassion is communicated at a standard that enables healing. Its vision is to complement the objective science of medicine with the subjective art of forming healing partnerships, to build well-being for the whole person.

Learn more at: www.AdventuresInCaring.org

 


Footnotes: Research Citations

 1. Social isolation is as harmful as smoking fifteen cigarettes a day, and twice as dangerous as obesity. Holt-Lundstad & Smith, PLoS Medicine (2010)

2. Generation Z (ages 18–22) is the loneliest generation. Students have higher loneliness scores than retirees. CIGNA U.S. Loneliness Index (2018)

3. Approximately 1 in 6 adults in the U.S. suffer from a mental health condition. There is one constant in the pathology: they also suffer from loneliness. Milligan-Saville et al. The Lancet (2017)

4. Cancer, heart disease, and respiratory problems become far more fatal when you face them alone. Berkman & Pinker, The Village Effect: Why Face-to-Face Contact Matters (2015)

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a-1576512785 Dec 16, 2019 08:13 AM
Local Nonprofit Tackles Loneliness Epidemic

This must help as the program has been doing the fact for many years. Personally it would be disconcerting to communicate with Raggedy Ann. Is it possible to participate in the program without someone in costume?

morgainele Dec 19, 2019 12:18 PM
Local Nonprofit Tackles Loneliness Epidemic

Thanks for your feedback! Lets talk about this! Try giving Simon a call at 805.962.4500 today. If he is not in the office please send me an email at [email protected] with your contact info and we'll arrange a time that works for both of you to chat Ok?

a-1576512772 Dec 16, 2019 08:12 AM
Local Nonprofit Tackles Loneliness Epidemic

Is there a plan for Adventures in Caring to branch out to visiting house-bound isolated singles including local elder orphans? There’s an unmet need. An area 78 year old single got the flu, was bed bound with a high fever, and had no one to call for assistance. . What do elders living alone do? Can we pre-register somewhere for in-home temporary support? Who do we call when too sick to handle things alone for a week or two.

morgainele Dec 19, 2019 12:57 PM
Local Nonprofit Tackles Loneliness Epidemic

Unfortunately, no, we simply don't have the resources to expand beyond the emotional support services we specialize in and offer to elder care and nursing type facilities. For physical assistance here are some places to reach out to about this need:
Visiting Nurse & Hospice Care, Santa Barbara, 512 E. Gutierrez St.Santa Barbara, CA 93103
805-965-5555. Santa Ynez & Lompoc Valleys2029 Village Lane Solvang, California 93463
805-693-5555 [email protected], www.vnhcsb.org
Serves Lompoc to South SantaBarbara County: Will assess home safety and the level of care needed - skilled nursing, rehabilitation, hospice or personal care. Call directly or ask your doctor about services. InHome Assessment is generally free of charge. Wilshire Home Health, Santa Maria
805-925-8694 Will assess home safety and the level of care you may need - skilled nursing, rehabilitation, hospice or personalcare. Call directly or ask your doctor about services. Services Guadalupe, Santa Maria, Solvang, Buellton, Lompoc and Vandenberg Village. Care Management
Care management services assist the frail elderly client to remain at home by developing and monitoring care plans to support safety and independence. Care managers work with family members and other professionals to provide access to health and social services and ensure coordinated delivery of services to the client. Private Care Managers are available. Call Senior Connection at 800-510-2020 for referrals. Or try CenCal Health 4050 Calle Real Santa Barbara, CA 93110
805-562-1082. I hope one of these can help you find the answer!!

Factotum Dec 15, 2019 11:12 AM
Local Nonprofit Tackles Loneliness Epidemic

Houses of worship, of all demoninations, and scattered widely within our locality, long served those wanting to find a sense of shared community. They were a given sub-structure of our way of life. Is it any surprise the newly "unchurched" generations are expressing lonliness. I am sorry they so fundamentally rejected long-serving centers of spiritual comfort. Not entirely sure why - the blatant hypocrisy of mega-church fund-raising machinse does not speak at all for our local and very sound array of spiritual houses of worshp that remain plentiful in this community. Try a few out , attend their weekly services, stay in the back rows, be an observer only. Something may click and then they soon become welcoming centers, where one can both give and receive. At one's own pace and level of engagement. No commitments, no contracts, just engagement to an identifiable searching and sharing community.

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