Re: “For older adults, isolation can lead to overwhelming loneliness” [Sept. 19, Mental Health Project]:
The excellent article on loneliness omitted mention of a great loneliness antidote: joining a virtual village. The Seattle area has five, including Wider Horizons, our village. This national movement started more than 20 years ago in Boston when neighbors got together to form a mutual aid and socialization society to help them age well. Now there are more than 250 villages across the country.
Our members range in age from 29 to 91. They are fascinating, independent people who want to be in community with others. Many joined as an extension of a lifetime of citizen activism.
We do the things many close-knit families and friends do together — dinners, social events, rides to the doctor or elsewhere when needed, light home repairs, help with gardening and computer issues, and the like. We have fun together; take care of each other; learn new things; have adventures; and feel engaged and worthy. We are especially grateful for our nonmember volunteers, who help with everything from technology support to gardening and moving boxes.
Even during the pandemic, and despite shifting many of our offerings to Zoom, we’ve flourished.
Denise Klein, executive director, Wider Horizons, Seattle