Social Isolation is #UNIGNORABLE
As humans we are hard wired for regular connections with our family, friends, neighbours and community. People who experience long periods of social isolation can see physical symptoms such as aches and pains, tiredness and difficulty sleeping, as well as loss of appetite. Social isolation can also have a negative effect on mental health, increasing your risk of anxiety and depression. Over 234,000 local people feel socially isolated from their community.
Social isolation is often a consequence of poverty. People living with low-income often don’t have the resources to travel and attend social events with their friends and family. When newcomers arrive in Canada, they often face significant personal barriers to integrate fully in the community. This is especially true if immigrants come with language barriers, skills that are not in demand, medical issues, or financial limitations.
Seniors tend to be at higher risk as well. The Edmonton Social Planning Council’s Vital Signs report estimates 30% of local seniors are at risk of becoming socially isolated. The report indicates that poor physical health, disability, financial stress, and concerns about community safety are the most common reasons seniors feel isolated and alone. One of the most common issues for Distress Line callers experiencing mental health concerns is isolation.
Thanks to the help of donors, United Way invests in programs and initiatives to overcome social isolation.
United Way funding supports community drop-in programs that provide a place for seniors living in low-income with opportunities to socialize in a safe environment, enjoy meals, and participate in recreational activities.
Donor funding also supports a program called The Multicultural Outreach program which provides immigrant and refugee seniors with English as a Second Language (ESL) classes, cultural gatherings and one-on-one supportive counselling to build the necessary skills and knowledge for improving their quality of life in Canada.
Through strategic investments in these community programs and more United Way donors help ease the isolation that people living in our community experience.
Learn more about United Way’s work.
When Nuhaa’s family first moved to Canada, it was a difficult adjustment. She felt very alone and was having trouble making friends. But a United Way after-school program helped Nuhaa feel more at home. Click below to see Nuhaa’s story.