In the early days of the pandemic, it became clear that the crisis could have a severe impact on both the mental and physical health of older adults. For older adults, like those living in Northern New York’s most remote communities, the year’s lack of activity and social engagement has increased the chance of isolation and loneliness.
In the Tri-Lakes community, Mercy Care for the Adirondacks (Mercy Care) has been leading the effort to support the growing older adult population to successfully age in place and empower communities to become more age friendly.
To aid their efforts, the Mother Cabrini Health Foundation granted $356,100 for Mercy Care to relieve older adult isolation and serve as a catalyst and facilitator of systemic change to empower older adults to successfully age in place. The grant will enable the establishment of four new age-friendly communities that would benefit an additional 400 older adults in the North Country region of New York State, many of whom are economically disadvantaged.
Further, Mercy Care will develop curriculum and recruit and train volunteers to provide friendship, companionship and spiritual care, including transportation to medical appointments, grocery shopping, connection to community-based service organizations and access to faith communities.
Older adults will need our support more than ever over the next few years. Creating more aging-friendly communities in remote areas such as the Adirondacks can in turn create a healthier, happier, more inclusive New York State.