Growing Old ≠ Being Alone
February 3, 2023
Help TEL HI Fight Senior isolation
On Monday, October 3, 2022 TEL HI was finally able to open its doors and welcome back San Francisco’s ageing and older adults and adults with disabilities. After years of passing out frozen meals and holding classes online, the center was once again filled with seniors sitting down together for a hot meal, practicing Tai Chi or working in the garden.
The population of older adults is the fastest growing age group in the city and many of them live alone without family nearby according to the DEPARTMENT OF DISABILITY AND AGING SERVICES. Social isolation and loneliness are public health issues that affect more than one-third of adults, with seniors most at risk for depression, substance abuse, and suicide triggered by feelings of isolation.
TEL HI provides a place for San Francisco’s aging and older adult population to form a community, with classes and programs that are free or very low cost! It’s a place for people like Merle to come and socialize with friends and her peer group, so she doesn’t have to be alone at home by herself. Merle began coming to TEL HI’s programs in 2014 to make friends and socialize with people her age.
“Through TEL HI’s lunch program, I met a group of ladies, and we became very very good friends,” said Merle. “It felt so good to have those friends and be able to see them and have lunch with them every day.”
Being social is not the only thing that helps improve the quality of seniors’ lives. Studies show that aging adults and seniors who have hobbies and who participate in workshops and activities like the ones provided at TEL HI, tend to live longer.
“Seniors, if they are lacking in activities or lacking in interests or things that get them excited then they start to deteriorate very quickly,” Merle said. “TEL HI’s Senior Center is extremely important because it helps seniors live a longer healthier life.”
TEL HI is honored to be able to provide services for San Francisco’s most venerable populations. However, government funding for programs for people like Merle is limited to nonexistent depending on the year. TEL HI’s Senior Program relies on fundraisers and the generosity of the community to keep it going.
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