Oasis works to get seniors active and learning to fight against social isolation – Story by KMOV News 4

Screen shot of exercise class video

Oasis exercise class

Social isolation is a major concern for all age groups following the pandemic in the United States. There is heightened concern among older adults.

Published: Aug. 8, 2023 at 5:56 PM CDT

ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) – Social isolation is a major concern for all age groups following the pandemic in the United States. There is heightened concern among older adults.

Enter Oasis St. Louis.

The nationally recognized nonprofit has 250 locations nationwide, supporting over 100,000 seniors. Debbie Abbott at the Clayton location is the person to tell you all about it.

“Hi, this is Debbie from the Oasis office,” Abbott said when answering the front desk phone.

Abbott has been attending classes with Oasis for years. She said the community she found motivated her to sign up as a volunteer, staff the front desk twice a week, and take calls from people asking for information.

“Sometimes they just want to talk,” Abbott shared. “The phones ringing and ringing. This person is just telling stories, but I think maybe I’m the only person they talk to today. I’m not going to cut them off; I’m going to listen to what they have to say.”

Oasis works to create daily courses to educate and entertain older adults. You can find daily fitness classes, creative writing and poetry courses, music lessons, and tutoring opportunities with young people.

“We know now more than ever, especially after the pandemic, the negative impact isolation can have on anyone of any age,” OASIS Chief Program Officer Juliet Simone said.

According to the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, one in four adults, ages 65 and older, report feeling isolated, leading to depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts.

Oasis offers what it calls PEARLS to address depression. This is free evidence-based programming to help older adults have a fulfilling life.

The meetings are one-on-one with a professional to tackle isolation over six to eight-hour sessions. Registration opened Aug. 1.

For Debbie, the chance to help others get involved and maybe make a friend is a true sense of purpose she calls priceless.

“Gets me out of the house, around other people. I mean, you know, you can only spend so much time with your husband,” Abbott said.

The pandemic has also changed how Oasis offers programming. Plenty of in-person opportunities, but many still offer a virtual option to help those who can’t make it out of the house or have a schedule conflict.

Oasis’ continued success in the St. Louis region requires expansion yet again with a new location in O’Fallon, Illinois, to better serve the Metro East.

For anyone looking for information on the closest location to them and how to sign up for a class, visit Oasis’s website.

By |2023-08-11T15:15:29-05:00August 10th, 2023|0 Comments

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