AARP of Wyoming has started an online platform to help organize and find local volunteer groups to serve those who may need help, especially those who are socially isolated, due to the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, according to a news release on Wednesday.

“In this time of uncertainty, we are remaining firm in our commitment to assisting those age 50+, their families and connections,” AARP Wyoming State Director Sam Shumway said.

“Across the country, people are informally organizing online mutual aid groups to stay connected, share ideas, and help those most affected by COVID-19," Shumway said. "We want to ensure that these resources are readily available and known."

AARP Community Connections gives users the ability to help pick up groceries, provide financial assistance or lend emotional support to neighbors, friends and loved ones.

These informal online groups, also called “mutual aid” group, help communities stay connected at a time when people must practice social distancing to reduce the transmission of the COVID-19.

AARP Community Connections is live and completely free to use. AARP membership is not required.

AARP Community Connections includes resources to help those who are feeling isolated, depressed, overwhelmed or anxious:

  • Request a call from an AARP volunteer, or a trained counselor.
  • Easily create an account with Savo to make connecting with their families easier.
  • Join “The Mighty,” a safe, supportive online community for people facing health challenges and their caregivers.

As of Wednesday afternoon, no mutual aid online groups have been listed in Wyoming.

Social isolation was a common problem, even before the coronavirus pandemic.

In 2020, the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine with support from the AARP Foundation, reported 43 percent of adults age 60 or older said they had felt lonely.

While social isolation and loneliness are serious health issues by themselves, they can also exacerbate existing health problems, such as lung disease, heart disease and diabetes. AARP Community Connections is one way to help this population.

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that empowers people to choose how they live as they age.

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