AARP Community Connections, a new online platform launched Wednesday, is designed to help users organize and find local volunteer groups to help pick up groceries, provide financial assistance or lend emotional support to neighbors, friends and loved ones.
These informal online groups — also called “mutual aid” groups — will help communities stay connected at a time when people must practice social distancing to stay safe.
“We may need to be physically isolated, but we don’t have to feel alone,” said Andy Miller, Senior Vice President of AARP Innovation Labs. “Through this platform, people in need of help from — or who want to offer help to — their communities are empowered to engage.”
AARP Community Connections includes multiple resources to help those who are feeling isolated, depressed, overwhelmed or anxious. Users are able to:
- Request a call from an AARP volunteer, or a trained counselor
- Create an account to make connecting with families easier
- Join a safe, supportive online community for people facing health challenges and their caregivers.
Interestingly, social isolation was a common problem even before the coronavirus pandemic. A 2020 study, published by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine, reported 43 percent of adults age 60 or older said they had felt lonely.
Social isolation and loneliness are serious health issues by themselves — they can also exacerbate existing health problems, such as lung disease, heart disease and diabetes.
The new online ‘AARP Community Connections’ is free to use, and AARP membership is not required. For more information, visit www.aarpcommunityconnections.org.