Villages Work to Combat Social Isolation is Newsworthy

Stephanie Chong

Earlier this week, DC Villages were featured on NBC and WTOP for our work addressing social isolation in our communities (see links at the bottom of this article). Social isolation, which the U.S. Surgeon General has declared a public health crisis in the United States, can be one of the hardest parts of growing older, which is why having a Village in your community is so important. Whether it’s a grocery trip with a volunteer or participation in a Village sponsored event, every interaction with your Village is an opportunity to make a meaningful connection.

Dr. Vivek Murthy, the U.S. Surgeon General, released this week the first-ever report on loneliness and isolation in the United States, highlighting the health risks that come from a loss of social connection. “Social connection is as fundamental to our mental and physical health as food, water, and sleep,” Murthy said in releasing the report.

According to the report, Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation: The U.S. Surgeon General’s Advisory on the Healing Effects of Social Connection and Community, the highest rates of social isolation are among older adults. This can lead to increased risk of undiagnosed and uncontrolled hypertension, diabetes, and accelerated cognitive decline. Both social isolation and loneliness are also known to increase the likelihood of depression or anxiety for older adults.

According to a 2022 survey of Village members in DC, more than two-thirds of respondents said they hardly ever felt isolated from others, and 70% said they hardly ever feel left out. 92% report that Village membership made them feel a part of a caring community, citing new friendships, improved quality of life, and a positive attitude toward aging as benefits from their affiliation with their local Village.

Village members aren’t the only one to benefit. Research has shown that volunteering provides many health benefits, such as improving physical and mental health, providing a sense of purpose, and nurturing new and existing relationships. Helping others increases dopamine levels in the brain providing a sense of well-being and reducing stress and anxiety.

Now is the time to get involved with your neighborhood Village! Click here to learn more about NNV membership and click here to become a volunteer. Support our efforts with a tax-deductible donation or join us at our annual fundraiser Tickets for a Cause, which raises funds to support our vital volunteer services.

We hope you will get involved and remain involved with NNV. Together, we can build a community that enables older adults to thrive!


Villages in the News:

Earlier this week Northwest Neighbors Village and Foggy Bottom West End Village were featured in reports related to the Villages’ role in addressing social isolation.

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Through a centrally-coordinated, local network of screened volunteers and vetted professional providers, Northwest Neighbors Village offers its members transportation to medical appointments, grocery shopping assistance, home repairs and handyman help, computer and technology assistance, access to social and cultural activities and more.

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