Social distancing and reduced amounts of human contact and connection have taken an emotional toll on countless people across the globe. This is especially true for senior citizens who are among the more vulnerable community members to coronavirus. In the spring, many of the 1,500+ residents of Cedar Crest, a senior living community in New Jersey, were unable to leave their apartments and had meals delivered to their door three times per week. These circumstances have had a significant effect on the well-being of the residents.
Led by 5’s internal community action committee, Give 5 Fold, our team has been honored to get involved in a program called “Cedar Crest Buddies” where residents of Cedar Crest are paired with one of our employees. Over the last several weeks, volunteers from 5 have been connecting with their Cedar Crest buddy by phone to provide some human interaction and contact on a weekly basis. While Cedar Crest residents have been surprised to get phone calls from 5ers who live in different parts of the country, this initiative has shown that compassion and care for others can overcome physical distance. While the program is still in its early stages, many new friendships and connections have already been formed.
Numerous studies have shown that loneliness and a lack of human interaction are among the factors that can lead to depression. Even in the absence of a pandemic, an older adult’s well-being can be seriously compromised by feelings of isolation. The Cedar Crest Buddies program has been a way for 5ers to continue to live out the company’s mission to “help others.”