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barNational Resources:The following national resources can provide a comprehensive level of support for older adults, including the homebound, who are struggling with isolation and loneliness.ELDERCARE LOCATOR –is a public service of the U.S. Administration on Aging andis the only national informa-tion and referral resource to provide support to consumers seeking assistance across the spectrum of issues affecting older Americans. Through its National Call Center, which operates five days a week from 9am-8pm, ET, and web- site the Locator serves as a trusted gateway for older adults and caregivers searching for information and resources which can be crucial to their health, well-being and independence. 1-800-677-1116, www.eldercare.govAREA AGENCIES ON AGING(AAA) – also known as Care- Well Services in Calhoun and Barry counties. AAAs serve older adults in virtually every community in America. So if you’re engaged in long distance caregiving, chances are, there is one near your loved one. AAAs provide a welcoming environ- ment for older adults and care- givers interested in participating in social and health promotion activities, as well as a range of services such as meals, trans- portation, and in-home services. To find the AAA nearest you, or loved one, visit or call the Eldercare Locator at 1-800-677-1116.CONNECT2AFFECT – Connect2Affect is an online resource featuring tools and information to help evaluate isolation risk, reach out to others who may be feeling lonely and disengaged, and find practical ways to reconnect to commu- nity. It is for individuals, families and the community at large. Learn more at SENIORS I SCENE 4405 11sideRecognizing that you feel isolated or that you’re having trouble maintaining asocial network that meets your needs is the first step to improving your quality of life. Agencies identified in this article can be found in the pages of this issue of Scene.BY SHERII SHERBAN• Don’t let being a non-driver stop you from staying active. Find out about your transportation options. Calhoun County Senior Services maintains a list.• Use social media like Facebook to stay in touch with long-distance friends or write an old-fashioned letter.• Stay physically active and include group exercise in the mix, like joining a walking club. Senior Health Partners offers a variety of classes all across Calhoun County.• Take a class to learn something new and, at the same time, expand your circle of friends. Lifelong Learning has many options.• Revisit an old hobby you’ve set aside and connect with others who share your interests, possibly at the Art Center.• Volunteer to deepen your sense of purpose and help others.• Visit your local community wellness or senior center and become involved in a wide range of interesting programs.• Check out faith-based organizations for spiritual engagement, as well as to participate in activities and events.• Get involved in your community by tak- ing on a cause, such as making your community more age-friendly.• Visit your local library and make new friends by joining a book club.• Don’t forget about family with allyour new friends taking up your time. Schedule intentional time with loved ones and continue to deepen family bonds, share stories, or do the chores around the house that just need to get done.A Recipe for Healthy AgingIf you or a loved one is homebound, there are resources that can come into the home and assist with the need to accomplish activities of daily living from chores to meal prep. Meals can even be brought to the home through Meals On Wheels. It may even be time to consider a day program such as Marian E. Burch Adult Day Care or possibly Senior Care Partners P.A.C.E. Additional resources are available in the home through the Mi Choice Waiver program offered through CareWell Services. Further funded programs through Calhoun County Senior Services might be just what you need. Veterans can qualify for additional resources.The reality is that as aging occurs the circle of those important to the senior changes and can lead to increased iso- lation. It is essential to realize that social isolation and lack of companionshipcan jeopardize an older adult’s health, nutrition, and well-being. So find reasons to get together. Help your loved one find groups with similar interests to spend time with because socializing is vital.Connect with others; it’s a recipe for healthy aging.Editor’s note: If you feel youare currently socially isolated and grappling with chronic loneliness, reach out to your family, friends, neighbors, and professionals. Explore resources to connect with others. In addition, you may want to visit your primary care physician and explain how you feel.■ ■ ■

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