Senior Wellness Check Program Expands Effort Combatting Isolation

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Volunteers from the Vancouver Police NOW (Neighbors On Watch) will join the Clark County Sheriff’s Office Auxiliary in the Senior Wellness Check Program.

The program began in April in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Isolation is already a concern for elderly or homebound individuals and the pandemic created increased isolation and stress.

“Little is known about how this extended period of sheltering in place has impacted older adults. However, researchers are concerned that current public health safety measures pose a risk of loneliness, even among those that are living with other family members. Social interaction is integral to human well-being, and the impact of not having one’s social needs met (aka loneliness) can be wide-ranging. Loneliness has been connected to both morbidity and mortality. Loneliness can be a particularly important concern for older adults, who may have additional risk factors, such as physical and cognitive impairment, death of loved ones, and decreases in economic resources. Sheltering in place and social distancing may be adding additional risk factors for loneliness as older adults lose many potential outlets for social interaction, such as going to religious services, seeing friends and family, shopping, and group exercise classes.” ~Coping with Being Cooped Up: Social distancing during COVID-19 among 60+ in the United States

With the Senior Wellness Check Program, volunteers make calls at a pre-arranged time and frequency that is mutually agreed upon by the volunteer and participant and a log is kept verifying that contact was made. If contact is not made after three attempts and the emergency contact cannot be reached, law enforcement will be dispatched to perform a welfare check. The program currently has 17 participants and to date there have been no welfare checks needed.

All volunteers have been background checked and have attended an extensive training academy through the law enforcement agency they volunteer with.

Residents of Clark County who live alone are encouraged to sign-up for this free program.

Applications can be requested from the Sheriff’s Office Outreach Unit at 564-397-3380 or email: [email protected]

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