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Reach out for Valentine’s Day

You may remember back in September, we posted about a statewide campaign to end loneliness called Reach Out Massachusetts.

It’s a project led by the AARP Massachusetts Task Force to End Loneliness & Build Community which works to reduce isolation for older state residents. The people and organizations behind the effort have developed and shared many thoughtful strategies for shifting perceptions of older adults and beginning to recognize the gifts they bring to our society.

Elders are an asset in this view, not a burden.

The campaign didn’t start because of the pandemic, but the impact of the virus has added urgency to it. If we’ve learned anything in 2020, it’s that isolation and loneliness have a negative impact on our overall well-being and mental health, one that must be stopped in order to save lives.

Reach Out Massachusetts believes ending those feelings of being alone can be started by large numbers of people taking very small steps to reach out to others.

Now, as we near the winter holiday that celebrates connections - love connections - it seems worthwhile revisiting the campaign’s goals and the reasons behind them, especially this list of easy tips for reaching out to someone who has been isolated during this pandemic.

As we celebrate Valentine’s Day on Sunday, is there one small step you can take to ease someone’s loneliness?

Two examples from the ReachOutMA list include waving to a neighbor or giving a compliment to a stranger while picking up your take-out food or in the grocery store.

Here’s the full list of ideas again or check out the ReachOutMA website here.

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