Tips for Seniors to Avoid Loneliness & Isolation; Info From Senior Center

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Town of Watertown

Watertown Senior Center

Watertown Senior Center

Here is the latest information from the Watertown Senior Center provided by the Watertown Council on Aging:

Please note that the Senior Center is currently closed for all programs, activities and services, senior parking permits, appointments, and shuttle bus services until further notice due to COVID-19. Although the building is closed, staff will still respond to your phone calls and to emails. You can reach us by calling the Senior Center at (617) 972-6490 or by emailing We will get back to you.

For information about COVID-19, you can call the Town’s hotline at (617) 972-6565. As always, Call 9-1-1 in the event of an emergency.

The Watertown Food Pantry is located at 80 Mount Auburn Street and is open on Tuesdays from 10:00 AM – 2:00 PM. Donations of food will be accepted from 9-2, also on Tuesdays. Monetary donations can be made payable to Watertown Food Pantry and sent to the Watertown Senior Center at 31 Marshall Street, Watertown, MA 02472. Thank you to everyone who has donated funds and food for our neighbors. We are grateful for your support. Link to other Food Pantries:

Finally, April is National Volunteer Recognition Month and we want to express our tremendous thanks to everyone who shares of their time and talents with the Watertown Food Pantry and the Council on Aging/Senior Center. Your support of our programs and services in so many ways truly makes the difference! Thank you!

Anne-Marie Gagnon
Director of Senior Services
(617) 972-6490 

Avoiding Social Isolation and Loneliness During COVID-19

Social isolation and loneliness are serious health issues. A terrible irony of the coronavirus is that steps to prevent its spread increase the risks of social isolation, which carries its own devastating health effects. A report last year by the National Institute on Aging said social isolation and loneliness are linked to higher risks of high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, a weakened immune system, anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, Alzheimer’s disease, and even death. But social distance does not need to lead to social isolation: the following are some ideas that might help:

Talk With Others Outside While Standing Six Feet Apart: With the weather getting warmer, you could set up folding chairs six feet apart and invite a friend or neighbor for a chat. Or you could take a walk and strike up conversations with neighbors while maintaining a sixfoot distance.

Get on The Internet: Those who are techsavvy can take advantage of the many opportunities to connect online with others through email and social media such as Facebook, Skype and YouTube. You can even do daily group meditation, free through June, on Also free during this health crisis is premium access to Sanvello app. This app., with over 3 million users, aims to help stress, anxiety, and depression and features a “Staying Socially Connected” Community that offers connection and support.

Make Phone Calls: Now is a good opportunity to reach out to others you haven’t talked with for a while to see how they’re doing. Try to pick up the phone and talk with someone each day. Those who can navigate a smart phone can use apps such as Skype, Facebook Messenger and WhatsApp, which let users see as well as hear each other. Those with an Apple device can use FaceTime and those with an Apple or Android device can use the Google Duo App.

Listen to Talk Radio or Podcasts: Some people find that listening to talk radio helps keep them company. Some of the talk radio stations in the area are WBZ 1030AM, WGBH 89.7FM, WRKO 680AM and Bloomberg 106.1AM/1330AM.

Read Books: It was C.S. Lewis who said, “We read to know that we are not alone.” Those who are online can use their library card to download or stream thousands of eBooks & digital audio books. Many publishers, databases, newspapers, and other digital media platforms have, for a limited me, expanded free access to digital content that normally requires a subscription. If you’re not online, now is a great time to revisit your own bookshelves. As Oscar Wilde said, “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.”

Listen to Music: In moments of loneliness, it can be helpful to use music as a healing tool to lift your mood and decrease anxiety. Musical experiences are inherently social, scientists tell us, even when they happen in private. When we listen alone, we feel together. Research Scientist, Istvan Molnar-Szakacs, PhD., a research neuroscientist at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience at the University of California, Los Angeles, has explored how music creates the sense of social belonging. “When you are home alone in your house, it feels empty,” he says. “And then you put on music and all of a sudden you feel better because you’re not alone. It’s not that literally you’re not alone. But you feel like you have company.”

We encourage you, especially during this coronavirus pandemic, to take this advice Be kind to yourself and keep reaching out to others to stay connected. When this temporary closure is over, the Senior Center looks forward to having you back.

The findings from “The Loneliness Experiment,” a collaboration between the BBC Radio 4 and Wellcome Collection in which over 55,000 people took part in a survey exploring attitudes and personal experiences of loneliness (the largest survey into the issue of loneliness to date as of 1/10/18), found that,”… most loneliness is temporary, but we need to find ways to prevent it from becoming chronic.” The findings “… suggest that we need to be kinder to ourselves when we feel disconnected from others, but also that there is a whole toolkit of potential solutions that we can try.” 2020 Carole Smith Berney

Our thanks to the Westwood COA for sharing this information.

See the entire May edition of the Watertown Senior News by clicking here:

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