The U.S. Surgeon General has declared loneliness a “global epidemic”

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With Dutchess County’s older adult population at over 60,000, the number of older adults here trying to overcome social isolation and loneliness is only growing. The U.S. Surgeon General has declared loneliness a “global epidemic” – but you can help address the issue.

The Dutchess County Office for the Aging (OFA) is reaching out to older adults who are isolated and would like some type of social connection, somebody to talk to for 20-30 minutes a week. Could you be that somebody?

OFA’s Friendly Calls program is looking for volunteer callers to reach out to our older adults. It’s a simple program at its core: neighbors talking to neighbors in a short, structured conversation. OFA screens both the volunteer callers as well as the people being called. You’d be talking to somebody who lives alone, is isolated, and has expressed an interest in staying socially connected.

Volunteers would start out calling from OFA headquarters in Poughkeepsie, but we envision the program becoming something a volunteer can do from home if that’s what they prefer.

Adult volunteers of all ages are welcome. If you’re interested in taking part as a volunteer caller, email or call 845-486-2555.