The Pennsylvania Council on Aging serves as an advocate for older individuals and advises the governor and the department on planning, coordination, and delivery of services to older individuals. The 16 members who make up the council (the majority of whom are required to be age 60 or older) are nominated by the governor and subject to Senate confirmation. Five additional members of the council are chairs of the five regional councils.
The Pennsylvania Council on Aging (PCoA) conducted a statewide survey of older adults in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The survey was open to any Pennsylvanian over the age of 60 and was available in both English and Spanish. Responses were collected during the first week of April and over 3,700 responses were received from across the state. The resulting report was compiled from those responses and is a product of the PCoA's Social Isolation Task Force.
Directions for Connections: Social Isolation Symposium
A two-day virtual symposium, Tuesday, March 23 & Wednesday, March 24, 2021, offering sessions addressing social isolation and older adults. Sessions include How to Engage, Support, and Empower Family Caregivers, Bringing Engagement to Seniors Where They Are: How to Virtually Connect with Asian Pacific American Older Adults, Getting Older Adults Online, Loneliness and Social Isolation and Urban Minority Elderly and more!
Day 1: Tuesday, March 23, 2021
9:00-9:30 | Opening Remarks | Gov. Tom Wolf, Sec. Robert Torres, PCoA Chair Gary Duncan
9:35-10:00 | Myth Busting: Getting the Facts about Social Isolation | Faith Haeussler, Janice Cameron
10:05-10:30 | Penn’s Village Confronts Loneliness During the Pandemic | Molly Clifford
10:35-11:30 | Senior Connect Program, Bucks County | Kathy Bennett, Deirdre Blackburn
11:35-12:15 | Getting Older Generations Online - More Important Than Ever! | Kim Singleton, Tobey Dichter, Katie
12:15-1:00 | Break
1:00-1:30 | SOLO: Strengthening Older Lives Online | Faith Haeussler, Janice Cameron
1:35-2:15 | Second Story Collective: A Creative Concept for Intergenerational Co-living | Lauren Lowe, Rachel Wenrick
2:20-3:15 | How to Counter Older LGBT Adults’ Isolation and Loneliness - Beyond the 101 | Liz Bradbury
3:20-4:00 | | Dr. Patrick Arbore Loneliness and Social Isolation and Urban Minority Elderly
Day 2: Wednesday, March 24, 2021
9:00-9:30 | Senior 2 Seniors: Closing the Digital Divide with Seniors in Rural Areas | Charles R. Wicker, Michele M. Moore, Ph.D., James G. Kockler, Isaac D. Musser
9:35-10:35 | Lifelong Learning Panel: Lessons in Academia with Older Adults | Adam Brunner, Maddie Barnes, Beth Ison
11:00-11:30 | How to Use Partnerships and Collaborations to Reduce Senior Isolation | Jason Kavulich, Peg Kopko
11:35-12:00 | Addressing Isolation Issues in Asian Pacific American Older Adults | Im Ja Choi, Ken Yang, Clayton Fitch
12:00-12:45 | Break
12:45-1:15 | Addressing Social Isolation During COVID-19: Resources from engAGED | Meredith Hanley, Rebecca Levine
1:20-2:20 | Staying Social in a Socially Distanced World | Tammy Miller, Bill Pierce, Melissa Weigle
2:25-3:25 | How to Engage, Support, and Empower Family Caregivers | Dr. Barry Jacobs
SOLO: Strengthening Older Lives Online
SOLO is an interactive guide with information and resources to help older adults cultivate a healthy mind, body and spirit amidst the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was designed to be a user-friendly self-empowering tool for older adults to share with their peers as a way to reduce social isolation. SOLO was created by PCoA's Risk Reduction Committee, which is made up of older adults and was formed in response to the council's State of Older Adults Report.
Tools available in the guide include:
- Activities & videos to help stay mentally, spiritually, and physically fit
- Resources available to assist with those three areas
- Short questionnaires to build active health plans