Coping and Connecting: Helping Older Adults Cope

Letter from the Director of the Greenwich Commission on Aging, Lori Contadino

The Greenwich Commission on Aging is committed to improving the quality of life for older Greenwich residents through planning, coordination, outreach, advocacy and education. Since the arrival of Covid-19 here in the United States, and the increasing number of positive cases locally, we are all living in a time of increasing stress and uncertainty.

Life as we know it has temporarily changed. We must take the necessary steps to reduce our risk of exposure and stay safe. Social distance does not mean that we have to socially disconnect. In fact, maintaining social connection is vital for social support and has important implications for health and well being.

It’s important that each of us, regardless of chronological age, talk with someone every day. This can present an enormous challenge for individuals that live alone. Emotional well-being is as important as physical health.

We’re thrilled to share new remote opportunities for socially connecting and engaging in a diverse schedule of programs – all from the comfort and safety of your own home.

Zoom Classes: The CONNECTT program is a collaborative effort with Greenwich Country Day School and offers daily programs that you can participate in on your computer, tablet or phone.

Visit our website page on the Town of Greenwich website:

Call to Chat: We’re also working in cooperation with Greenwich High School to launch the Bridging the Generations program. If you are an older adult interested in receiving a regular call to connect, chat and check-in, please call or email Sharon Wilson at Greenwich High School at [email protected]

Everyone reacts differently to stressful situations. Fear and anxiety can be overwhelming and cause strong emotions in people. Coping with stress will make you, the people you care about, and your community stronger.

According to the CDC, stress during an infectious disease outbreak can include:
• Fear and worry about your own health and the health of your loved ones
• Changes in sleep or eating patterns
• Difficulty sleeping or concentrating
• Worsening of chronic health problems
• Increased use of alcohol, tobacco, or other drugs

The good news is that there are several things you can do right now to reduce stress and support yourself during this challenging time.

1. Take breaks from watching, reading, or listening to news stories and social media. Hearing about the pandemic repeatedly can be upsetting.
2. Take care of your body. Take deep breaths, stretch, or meditate. Try to eat healthy, well-balanced meals, exercise regularly, get plenty of sleep, and avoid alcohol and drugs.
3. Keep to a schedule and be mindful of self-care. Routines are important and give structure to your day.
4. Make time to unwind. Try to do some other activities you enjoy.
5. Connect with others – Try one of the new remote programs that are being offered. Reconnect with old friends and meet new people on Zoom.
6. Talk with people you trust about your concerns and how you are feeling.
7. Call your healthcare provider if stress gets in the way of your daily activities for several days in a row or if you feel overwhelmed with emotions like sadness, depression or anxiety.

All residents are encouraged to review CDC safety guidelines and other reliable information about Covid-19 at

Additionally, residents should refer to the Town of Greenwich website and the Greenwich Department of Health webpage for important information about limited services and resources available.

Residents experiencing challenges with food, finances, and living arrangements can call the Department of Human Services at 203-622-3800.

The staff of the Commission on Aging and Greenwich Senior Center are working remotely, but you can still call the office to leave a message or email us if you have a specific question or concern. We’d love to know what you all have been doing to cope and connect. Feel free to share by emailing
[email protected]

Remember, we are all in this together.

Stay safe and be well,
Lori Contadino, MS
Greenwich Commission on Aging