In response to Martin Raffel’s “And God said it’s not good for a person to be alone” (Dec. 27), I suggest the following to help seniors cope with loneliness:
- Set up a “coffee house” in a central location. The program should include a short period of exercise, perhaps a nutritious lunch, and a participatory program such as a craft, making sandwiches, or something else to contribute to a worthy cause. In this way we have encouraged sociability and a sense of worth.
- For those seniors with difficulty leaving home, send a minibus and lend transportation assistance. For those unable to leave home, arrange small groups to bring the program to them.
- At these meetings take time to share challenges and suggestions for coping.
I am aware that getting the funds for the minibus, materials, and trained personnel will be a challenge but that’s why we contribute to UJA. I envisage many of these groups in many neighborhoods; perhaps local synagogues can assist.
I am a 97-year-old congregant of Adath Shalom in Morris Plains. They have been very good at keeping in touch with seniors. I try to get to their monthly lunch and lecture series but sometimes the walking involved just seems too difficult. Hence my suggestion to bring the activity to those who need it. When meetings are five to 12 people I invite the folks to meet in my house and love it when they do.