Friendships are strongly linked to your overall health.
As people age, their risk of being isolated from friends, the community, and past activities increases. To better forge bonds among adults ages 55 and over, the free Buddy Connect program is available at no cost through Lorain County Public Health and the Lorain County Board of Mental Health.
“Buddy Connect helps folks build friendships, while numerous studies confirm that social connections have a positive impact on social, emotional, and physical health,” said health commissioner David Covell. “Preliminary results of the program, which started in October 2017, indicate that visits and social outings make a positive difference.”
Monthly phone calls and in-home visits are mutually enjoyed by participants and their buddy volunteers. Each quarter, social outings bring everyone together to talk, enjoy a meal, and to try something new; transportation is also provided.
Favorite past social outings have included chair yoga followed by lunch, and a garden tram tour with lunch at Schoepfle Garden.
“Our volunteers and participants have diverse interests that they enjoy sharing, from singing to gardening to playing any card game under the sun,” said Natalie Karn, nursing supervisor at Lorain County Public Health. “Volunteers enjoy the program because they know they’re making a difference for their buddy, and many are surprised by how much they also get out of the new friendship.”
More volunteers are needed. Training, background checks, and monthly gas cards to reimburse mileage are provided to volunteers. The program is flexible and works easily with any schedule, regardless of age or employment.
To sign up or to learn more about the Buddy Connect program, call 440-567-4120.