December 13, 2021

- Listen to Ron's Interview with Eddie Garcia, 

Marcia Slater Johnston and Carla Perissinotto - 

Are You Feeling Lonely? Well, You’re Not Alone.

   

Episode description:  

As we’re gathering once again with family and friends during the holidays, most of us are eager and excited to resume our annual social festivities. Of course. But for many people, especially isolated older adults, this is a very lonely season. And it’s not just these times. Research from the University of California, San Francisco found that 43 percent of adults over 65 say they feel lonely, which puts them at a higher risk for poor health.  The COVID-19 pandemic has made social isolation worse, but it didn’t create it; this problem has been growing for years, spreading across nations, as well as across younger adults. In today’s episode, we’ll talk with three distinguished experts about loneliness and social isolation, and what approaches we can we explore to deal with these issues. Eddie Garcia is Executive Director of the Foundation for Social Connection, a non-profit organization that aims to foster evidence-based solutions addressing social isolation and loneliness. Marcia Slater Johnston is a journalist and Founder of Make Room @ The Table, an affinity group whose mission is to develop strategies to alleviate social isolation and loneliness among older people. And Dr. Carla Perissinotto, an Associate Professor in the Division of Geriatrics, Department of Medicine, at the University of California, San Francisco Carla, has gained national and international recognition for her research on the effects of loneliness on the health of older adults. These experts will cover a broad, provocative range of issues: Who’s most at risk for loneliness? How do you define it, as opposed to social isolation, or simply being alone?  What’s driving loneliness in the U.S.? (Compared to say, the United Kingdom, which has appointed a Minister of Loneliness.) And how are experts across multiple fields and organizations partnering to analyze these questions and propose solutions? You’ll discover how you can make a difference for yourself and for others to curb loneliness and thrive, whether it’s during the holidays or other times of loneliness and longing.

Guest descriptions:

Eddie Garcia is Executive Director of the Foundation for Social Connection, a non-profit organization based in Washington, D.C., which aims to foster evidence-based solutions addressing social isolation and loneliness. He is also Senior Advisor to the Coalition to End Social Isolation & Loneliness, a multi-stakeholder organization whose focus is to create awareness around social isolation and loneliness and to advocate for policy reform to combat this issue. Eddie is also the Co-Chair of the Global Initiative on Loneliness and Connection (GILC), a newly-founded consortium of nations seeking to address and combat loneliness and promote social connection on a broader scale. In addition, Eddie is a Partner at Healthsperien, a nationally recognized health care policy consulting firm focusing on accelerating responsible and sustainable health care system innovation and transformation to improve health outcomes for all, particularly the most vulnerable. Eddie received his B.A. in political science & comparative health politics from Boston University in 2004, and in 2008 received his Master of Health Science in Public Health degree from The Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health.

Marcia Slater Johnston is a print and broadcast journalist based in Chicago.  During her 50-year-plus career, she has covered the criminal justice system, sex trafficking, illegal immigration, street gangs, vigilantism, business, medicine, the arts and travel. Designated an Ageless Innovator by Chicago Innovation, Marcia is a Founder—and the Convener—of Make Room @ The Table, an affinity group of people engaged in the aging field. Make Room @ the Table’s mission is to identify, share and develop strategies to alleviate social isolation and loneliness among older people. Marcia also is a Founder and Convener of MR@TT Digital, which seeks to foster social connection by bridging the digital divide for older adults. For more than 26 years, she has been the advisor to the Harry G. and Charlotte H. Slater Family Fund of the Greater Milwaukee Foundation, which  provides seed grants to support pilot programs improving the quality of life for older adults in the Greater Milwaukee, Wisconsin area. She is a graduate of Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and received a master’s degree in communications from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Dr. Carla Perissinotto is an Associate Professor in the Division of Geriatrics, Department of Medicine, at the University of California, San Francisco. Board Certified in Internal Medicine, Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine, Carla is dedicated to working in both community and academic settings. Her main work is in UCSF Care at Home--which provides medical care to home bound older adults, and in embedded geriatrics consult practices. From 2008-2017, Carla served as a primary care and consulting geriatrician at the Over60 Health Center in Berkeley. Carla is passionate about working with diverse communities and improving the training of internal medicine residents and all learners in the care of elderly patients. She has worked in clinical settings internationally, most notably, El Salvador, Kenya and Mexico. Carla also has gained national and international recognition for her research on the effects of loneliness on the health of older adults. She is frequently invited to discuss her research and discuss the clinical and policy implications of the health effects of loneliness.

Contacts:

Eddie Garcia: linkedin.com/in/eddie-garcia-6001674

Marcia Slater Johnson: https://www.linkedin.com/in/marcia-slater-johnston-1ba06a16

Carla Perissinotto: linkedin.com/in/carla-perissinotto-55b6991a0

For more resources about issues relating to loneliness and social isolation, click on these links:

https://www.social-connection.org/home

https://www.endsocialisolation.org/

https://www.facebook.com/makeroomattable/

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