More than 84,000 people in San Diego County are living with dementia – and 1 out of 4 live alone. That number is troubling enough in the best of times, but particularly so during COVID-19, as social distancing can heighten feelings of loneliness and separation.
To support this sizable population, Alzheimer’s San Diego has created a new program called VITALZ (Volunteers in Touch)! Specially trained volunteers will call those enrolled in the program every week. These phone calls can be purely social, but they can also provide reminders about things like upcoming appointments and food deliveries, or serve to identify a new need the person living with dementia may have. Like all of our programs, this is completely free of charge.
“We recognize there is a gap in local services for people living with dementia who live by themselves – and we are determined to do something about it,” says Eugenia L. Welch, President/CEO of Alzheimer’s San Diego. “This is a heartbreaking situation for someone to be in, especially as we’re all dealing with isolation during the pandemic. This program is badly needed, and I look forward to supporting these vulnerable San Diegans.”
VITALZ can also serve as a safety net. When a person enrolls in this program, they will provide emergency contacts. If the person living with dementia does not answer a scheduled call after a few tries, the volunteer will then call the emergency contacts so they can check in and see if the person is safe.
If you are living with dementia and are interested in enrolling in VITALZ, or are caring for someone you think might be a good fit, contact Alzheimer’s San Diego by calling 858.492.4400 or emailing email@example.com.