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Senior citizen centers help reduce social isolation

Twin Falls Senior Center
Posted at 5:42 PM, Jan 03, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-04 09:12:23-05

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — Programs like Meals on Wheels provide seniors who struggle with food insecurity a warm meal. But they also provide seniors with another much needed service — social interactions.

As the pandemic continues and severe winter weather blows through Magic Valley, many seniors struggle with social isolation.

Metro Meals on Wheels CEO Grant Jones said it’s important for seniors to have social interactions.

“We noticed so much during COVID, that social isolation was so real and such a contributing factor to the decline of health,” Jones said.

According to CDC studies, loneliness and social isolation can affect the health of elderly people.

Related: 'More than a meal': Meals on Wheels reduces senior hunger

“Social isolation was associated with about a 50% increased risk of dementia,” according to the CDC. Loneliness is also associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety and suicide.

Senior centers across the state provide congregate meals to encourage social interactions and provide seniors with a safe space. At the Twin Falls Senior Citizen Center, Desariee Johnston said meals are provided every weekday at noon.

Related: Idaho seniors can get free fresh produce through Nampa Winter Wonderland Farmers Market

“People that are able to drive can come and actually sit down and socialize with other people and then they got a hot meal,” Johnston said.

During the cold winter months, the Twin Falls senior center notices an increase of seniors who need a meal. The center also provides seniors with the opportunity to engage in different activities, like exercising three times a week.

To access the Twin Falls Senior Citizen Center website click here.