Collier Senior Resources (CSR) at the Golden Gate Senior Center – a nonprofit organization working to address the needs of older adults and their caregivers – has been awarded a $25,000 Senior Friendship Centers grant for the charity’s UPSLIDE Program.
A life-saving initiative for many older women who are isolated, lonely and depressed, UPSLIDE (Utilizing and Promoting Social Engagement for Loneliness, Isolation and Depression in Elderly) was established in 2020 to provide free mental health resources and opportunities for socialization to women 60+ years of age in Collier County.
“Since COVID-19, the demand for support and engagement among our 1,460 members has increased dramatically, further complicating an ongoing global epidemic of loneliness in seniors,” explains Center Director Tatiana Fortune, MSW. “These funds empower local women to address their anxiety, loneliness and depression in a safe, welcoming environment with a mental health professional and their peers.”
Social isolation and loneliness among seniors are linked to health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, dementia, depression, cognitive decline, suicide attempts, falls, hospitalization and pain. UPSLIDE was created to address these critical concerns, specifically targeting women who are twice as likely as men to experience depression, through a weekly social connection group, support from a bi-lingual professional mental health counselor and:
- One-on-one meetings to determine an individual’s situation, provide information and resources
- Individual and Group Counseling to encourage social engagement as well as address emotional and physical obstacles to wellbeing
- Friendly Chat Groups with peers in a creative, relaxed environment
- Social Engagement Support to identify interests, options and offer support for involvement in activities
More than 45 women have already received hope and healing through the program which is funded by Senior Friendship Centers, Women’s Foundation of Collier County and Moorings Park Foundation. For more information, please email Alelaniz.Rosario@CollierSeniorReources.org.
CSR opened the Golden Gate Senior Center in 2014 as part of ongoing efforts to provide seniors on a modest/fixed income fellowship, enrichment, wellness and basic services, along with continuing education, in a safe, diverse and welcoming environment. Programs are free of charge and include services for seniors, caregivers and the general community:
- Daily Hot Lunch program serving more than 1,200 meals a month to hungry seniors and weekly access to a Meals of Hope food pantry to 780+ families, including 330 needy seniors.
- A daily coffee bar; weekly food pantry, blood pressure, vision and diabetes screenings, oral health assessments, balance testing and fall prevention lectures; monthly birthday parties, yoga, dance and exercise classes, art therapy, cards and games, holiday parties, Alzheimer’s support groups, crafts and other life-enhancing programs and services for seniors.
- Virtual Resource Directory and referral services providing local and long-distance caregivers a centralized source for senior-related information, services and resources in Collier County.
The charity maximizes each dollar received by collaborating with trusted partners, including AARP Foundation (job placement and training for out-of-work, low-income seniors), Alzheimer’s Support Network, Area Agency on Aging, Catholic Charities (social services), Collier Area Transport, Collier County Nutrition, Literacy Volunteers, Sheriff’s Office and more.