Isolated seniors are at a higher risk of developing high blood pressure, depression, dementia, and other complications than their peers who are surrounded by a loving, caring network of family, neighbors, and friends, according to several studies. Collier Senior Resources is helping to resolve this problem at the Golden Gate Senior Center with funding from a $50,000 Women’s Foundation grant.

“This grant is going to make a significant difference,” said Messer. “In years past, we’ve given smaller amounts to different organizations. This year, we decided to give a larger grant to just one organization to be more impactful.”

The grant is called UPSLIDE, which stands for: Utilizing and Promoting Social engagement for Loneliness, Isolation, and Depression in the Elderly. Senior center director Tatiana Fortune fashioned it after a similar, successful program in Tallahassee, Florida. The Tallahassee senior center “has been in existence for decades, but they saw the need to engage even more with isolated seniors.” While that program includes men and women, “I targeted women because they are more likely to live longer than men, and report more depression,” she said. In fact, according to recent studies, Fortune cited, women are twice as likely to report being depressed than men—a condition that worsens if left unchecked.

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