Coronavirus News: Senior trip business, advocates help elderly deal with isolation during pandemic

WESTCHESTER COUNTY, New York (WABC) -- Senior trips aren't just for college kids, but for senior citizens as well. And that's where the Westchester County-based bus company The Upper Class comes in.

"We actually started the business for my grandmother, and she picked the name," Brooke Lawer said. "The Upper Class describes the level seniors have achieved in our community, but also the level they deserve.

But with everyone staying at home during the coronavirus pandemic -- particularly older folks -- business ground to a halt.

"This company was built on the idea of making friends, building connections, and community, and it's more than just a trip," Lawer said.

She is now fostering those connections with social media and even virtual tours, and connection is so vital right now, according to Barbara Newman Mannix.

She's the founder of an elder care advocacy group called A Dignified Life based in White Plains.

"Isolation is not new because of the pandemic," she said.

But the isolation can lead to depression and anxiety, so she offers easy ways to engage a senior.

"You can bring your iPad to the dinner table and you can have dinner with your senior everyday," she said. "Bedtime stories work both ways...The senior can read to the grandchild over the phone."

A virtual stretch session together is another option, or take a trip down memory lane with photos.

"Memory lane is wonderful, but really think about what part of memory lane you want go to," Newman Mannix said. "It create happiness. We're trying to get people to smile."

That's because smiling releases endorphins, which make us happy. And you can encourage your senior to look forward to the future, to when we can all get back out there and even go on trips again.

"My grandmother always did say, of course it matters where you go, but what's most important is who you meet along the way," Lawer said.

CLICK HERE for more information on The Upper Class, and CLICK HERE for more on A Dignified Life.


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