H2O initiative to support our seniors during COVID-19 global outbreak.
With the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, although we are all vulnerable to the coronavirus, the older adult population is the most at risk. COVID-19 pandemic not only takes a toll on our seniors’ physical health but can also make them susceptible to severe mental health difficulties, including feelings of loneliness, depression and anxiety. Furthermore, a recent research from the department of psychological sciences at Rice University showed that factors such as loneliness, stress, and lack of sleep can weaken the immune system which leads to increased susceptibility to COVID-19 (Reference). Therefore, addressing the emotional and mental difficulties that our seniors are experiencing has never been more crucial than now.
To address the above, H2O Network has designed and organized a platform called Virtual Presence Program (VPP), bringing together seniors and young volunteers. This platform aims to lessen the physical, mental, and emotional impact of the pandemic on our seniors by helping them cope with the loneliness, negative feelings, fear, and anxiety that stems from the current state of emergency, self-isolation, and social distancing. VPP offers free and confidential virtual support services through one-on-one phone calls and video chats, as well as, virtual group meetings, events, and activities with various creative, informative, and fun topics for seniors who are experiencing loneliness and isolation.
Various virtual activities and connection platforms that VPP is offering will enable our seniors to stay active, engaged, and involved with the community, our young and passionate volunteers, and other seniors. This can provide a promising alternative for their otherwise routine in-person gatherings and engagement while they must stay at home and practice social distancing.
Our services through VPP will provide an outlet for seniors to release their stress and build resilience against emotional and physical hardships and challenges of their new COVID-19 lifestyle.