The human body was created to be social creatures. COVID-19 is continuing to disrupt that feature, especially for senior citizens. For seniors, who are more likely to have a harder time fighting the coronavirus, are stuck in isolation. As an effect, the thoughts of loneliness increases with each passing day, increasing anxiety and the potential for depression. Luckily, there is now a solution that will allow seniors to get the much needed interactions they need, while being in the safety of their own home.
The Benedictine: Benedict Court, is a free program that allows for seniors to receive monthly 10-20 minute phone conversations by the Benedict staff members. The conversations will allow for the seniors to discuss how they are feeling and express themselves. While the conversation will not be intended to be clinical or medical, the primary focus will be on the senior's mental well-being while avoiding the potential of coming into contact with the virus.
"It is a program where we’re just having seniors that would like to have another person to talk to on a regular basis and have a conversation," Tayler Chock, the housing manager for Benedict Court, said. "We know a lot of people aren’t going out to meet for coffee or interacting and there’s more isolation going on than normal. And we’re going into the winter months which makes it harder anyways. It’s just an nice way to stay connected to the community and to each other."
The program had its first day of operation on Monday, Sept. 14, and while it was inspired based on the current COVID-19 pandemic, Benedict Court is planning on this being a permanent program.
"It’s going well, we’re letting the community know through a lot of different ways and hopefully we’ll start generating some phone calls here and we can get people signed up to have that connection," Chock said.
For Chock, and Brooke Kentz, the director of marketing and development of the Benedictine Living Community Dickinson, and Chock's partner in this program, the ability to give others the chance to socialize is needed now more than ever before.
"I just know that there’s so many seniors who feel alone and have felt alone during this time," Chock said. "They’re isolated in their homes and we’re just excited to reach out to them and be apart of the community."
The phone calls will be free, with no fees being dealt to those that want to receive the monthly phone call.
To register, contact Tayler Chock at 701-456-7320. Citizens can also register online at www.benedictinedickinson.org.