Better Together, a new program of Sioux Empire United Way through Lutheran Social Services of South Dakota, establishes trusting relationships and regular social opportunities between independently living older adults and volunteers.
Helping aging adults live happily and independently in their own residences benefits these individuals, their families, their communities, and the economy. When older adults have depression combined with chronic health problems, their medical costs are much higher as compared to people with chronic illnesses who don’t have depression. Researchers have found feelings of loneliness can contribute to reduced physical health, increased alcohol abuse, sleep disturbances, cognitive decline and dementia, and decreased physical activity.
Better Together connects older adults ages 65 and older, or neighbors, with volunteers of all ages. Volunteers could include individuals over 18, families, retirees, or even college students. Volunteers commit to spending four hours each month with their neighbor.
Time spent together could include a wide variety of activities and shared hobbies. Coffee, card games, shopping, local events are all possibilities for Better Together participants. By linking together a Neighbor, with a Volunteer, the Better Together program improves quality of life in older adults by:
- Creating an active older adult community that will foster a sense of belonging among participants
- Decreasing loneliness and isolation
- Improving self-esteem by developing meaningful relationships
- Alleviating some of the depression that comes with aging
- Connecting generations together
Learn more or volunteer at lsssd.org today!