Stay Well program aims to support, connect older adults in Michigan during pandemic

A Michigan program called Stay Well is working to help support older adults during the pandemic, as loneliness and isolation among that age group is just yet another fallout of COVID-19

"There’s very little interaction. It's been very isolating and it's been extra difficult because I was just recently diagnosed with leukemia," said Ida Mistretta, who lives in Shelby Township.

"Stay Well is the governor's initiative that started with Stay Home Stay Safe and we have Stay Well as an offshoot of that. As part of that is we have a federal grant that allows us to do crisis counseling," said Dr. Debra Pinals, who's the Medical Director of Behavioral Health and Forensic Programs with the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services.

The program targets older adults for a number of reasons, from medical to isolation factors.

"We know that social isolation and loneliness among older adults can be really difficult and it is considered a public health problem," Dr. Pinals said. 

One way to take advantage of the program is to call 1-888-535-6136, Michigan's COVID-19 hotline. If you press 8, you'll be connected with a Stay Well counselor. Counselors are available 24/7 for free and are confidential. 

Older adults can also connect with others through the program, albeit virtually.

"There's also webinars and outreach support groups that we're offering. And the one for older adults is going to be the second and fourth Wednesday of every month," Dr. Pinals said. "They’ll also be able to participate in live groups with other older adults and will continue as long as funding lasts."

For more information, click here