On Wednesday, June 11, Peter Reed, PhD, MPH, Director of the Sanford Centering for Aging spoke at the “Combating Social Isolation and Loneliness During the COVID-19 Pandemic” hearing of the U.S. Senate Special Committee on Aging. Dr. Reed addressed the current state of loneliness and lack of resources for older adults admits the stay at home orders in Nevada. Dr. Reed shared the current efforts of Nevada CAN and NEST Collaborative programs to identify and respond to elder needs.
The Nevada COVID-19 Aging Network Rapid Response, Nevada CAN program was launched on April 1st. Nevada CAN includes three different action teams, each focusing on one of the program’s priority areas: essentials of daily life, telehealth services, and social support. Through the program, Aging and Disability Resource Center case managers connect elders to the appropriate action teams for support. The Food and Medication Action Team collaborates with various community agencies to deliver food, medication, and other essential items. The Telehealth Action Team consists of a network that provides telehealth medicine support for geriatric, social work, primary care, and other services.
The Nevada Ensures Support Together, NEST Collaborative includes the Social Support Action Team. Under the direction of Dr. Jennifer Carson, Director, Dementia Engagement, Education and Research Program, the NEST Collaborative trains volunteers to provide social support to older adults through weekly phone calls, virtual group peer sessions, and technical support for virtual communication.
Dr. Reed concluded his testimony by stating, “This time of social distancing does not mean elders must be socially isolated. Nevada CAN and the NEST Collaborative are examples of how to help elders stay meaningfully engaged and connected to their communities.”
The work of both Nevada CAN and the Nest Collaborative demonstrate the tireless efforts of UNR faculty and students to continue to support the community and make health happen during this unprecedented time.