When Ann Fosco answers calls for Coffee Talk, a new phone support line for Minnesota seniors in need of companionship and conversation created by the Twin Cities nonprofit Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly, most people don’t just come out and tell her why they are calling.“I don’t think I’ve had anyone come right out and say, ‘I am so lonely,’” said Fosco, Little Brothers’ community impact director, “but they do say things like, ‘This pandemic is getting old,’ or, ‘I can’t believe that I can’t leave my room,’ or, ‘It’s so sad that they took all the chairs out of the lobby.’”
Those indirect comments, Fosco said, are one way that callers are saying they’re feeling alone and isolated.
“We’re all feeling that way these days,” she said, “but enforced isolation especially takes a toll on older people. Some are sad. Some are mad. No matter how they’re expressed, those feelings of isolation and loneliness are real.”