Well Connected is available to adults aged 60 and over who are interested in lifelong learning, support, fun, and engagement with a larger community.
 Amber Carroll

 

Social isolation is a state of near-complete or the complete distancing of an individual, physically, psychologically, or both from their network of support.  During COVID19 and a new era of social distancing for everyone, many young people are experiencing what many older adults experience on a day-to-day basis. Social distancing doesn’t have to mean socially disconnecting – and there are opportunities to connect for older adults who are experiencing social isolation.

 

In this episode, we will be talking to Amber Carroll of Well Connected, a telephone and online community made up of participants, presenters, staff, facilitators, and other volunteers
who value being connected.
Program activities include education, friendly conversation, and an assortment of classes and support groups for older adults – and all are accessible from the comfort of home. It’s a creative way for our ‘seniors’ to learn new things, socialize, and make friends with the same interests.

Well Connected members can play a game, learn a language, write a poem, go on a virtual tour, meditate, share gratitude, get support, and most importantly, connect and engage with others every day across the country. All groups are accessible by phone or online. Well Connected is a community service of Covia, and is free of charge to all participants and available to adults over the age of 60.

 

 

Part One of Well Connected

In 2004, Well Connected began by putting together a conference line serving only six people. Fast forward to 2020, and over fifteen hundred people participate in the program across 46 states. That alone is a milestone, and from there, we can see the need for similar services for older adults.

Small groups of 8 – 10 people get together with a common focus. A smaller group size is easier to manage and is more effective for group dynamics. This fosters a sense of belonging for people who join the group(s).

What’s impressive about the Well Connected program is that they are leveraging the skills, time, and passion of the people in the community to meet the social and emotional needs of the older adults who may not have a large network of family and friends to rely on. And when you work out of love, the result is almost always successful, so it’s no wonder that Well Connected has been thriving over the years.

 

You know, being isolated in your home by
yourself every day, day in and day out is like
smoking close to a pack of cigarettes a day.
– Melissa Batchelor (30:03 – 30:09)

 

You can do a lot of things when you are in the program. There is a wide range of activities such as discussing brain health, trivia, word games, “armchair” travel, and even museum tours. There are also Spanish programs available.

Now, some of you might wonder how they can travel and do tours over the phone. Well, the solution is simple. For museum tours, the team will send handouts where you can find images or helpful visuals. And through a phone call, you will be guided accordingly.

Well Connected also encourages people to share their travel experiences. It doesn’t matter if you traveled recently or decades ago. What matters most is that you share and even compare memories. Say, for example, you recently went to Paris. Other participants will ask if the same restaurant is still there, or generally, what changed since the last time they visited.

 

Part Two of Well Connected

The Well Connected program offers high-quality programs for lifelong learning. They host an annual Creative Aging Symposium where they bring together world-class speakers in the area of creative aging. It’s not just about a community of older people. It’s about fostering genuine connections and creating a network using the available technology.

 

We really try to meet the needs of the community,
and we access the community to meet those needs.
–  Amber Carroll (10:32 – 10:38) 

 

And speaking of technology, the Well Connected program is improving its conferencing system so that it can accommodate more people in the best way possible.

Well Connected is a part of a bigger organization, Covia; an organization with a rich commitment to its community services and funds Well Connected so you can participate for free and reduce the negative health effects of social isolation.

 


 

Archives

Categories

.

About Melissa:

Melissa Batchelor, PhD, RN, FNP, FGSA, FAAN. I am a nurse, nurse practitioner, nurse educator and nurse researcher with over 25 years of experience in the aging and long-term care healthcare space. You can visit my website at MelissaBPhD.com to learn more about me, how you can work with me directly,
and/or support future episodes of the podcast. Within the first 18 months of launching this podcast, we reached a ranking of top 10% globally. I have all of you who’ve been with me on this journey so far to thank for that!

The best way you can help the podcast continue to grow is to LIKE the podcast with a thumbs up, SHARE the podcasts you like with others, SUBSCRIBE, and LEAVE A REVIEW. These things only take a minute of your time, but they really do help increase my rating and ranking; but more importantly, these actions help other people find the podcast. For the most up-to-date news and information about the podcast and other products and services I am offering, please visit my website, sign up for my newsletter, and follow me on social media.

Find out more about her work HERE.