Particularly vulnerable during this crisis, older adults are subject to even more stringent social distancing guidelines leaving them severely isolated. With the help of Cox volunteers, isolated seniors around the country have received surprise calls offering support, encouragement, and much-needed human connection.
“Many studies pointed to a loneliness epidemic even before COVID-19 with illness, mobility, and the complexity of technology making this more acute for seniors,” said Gaston Vaneri, senior vice president of brand strategy for Cox. “Now, being classified as an at-risk group and being isolated from loved ones, the problem is exacerbated.”
The phone conversations range from what’s for dinner and current events of the day to bragging on grandchildren, parenting advice and trips down memory lane. Regardless of the topic, conversations spark a meaningful connection in a time of severe isolation.
“I may get more out of it than Joe, my match,” said Eric Wall, a recruiter for Cox Enterprises. “He has so much life experience and offers great perspective on what’s going on in today’s world. Having served in the Navy, I have a strong bond with Joe, who served in the National Guard. I am willing to do anything I can do to encourage him and make him laugh through this crazy time.”
Cox started One Call a Day in California, matching employee volunteers with aging adults affiliated with local veterans’ groups and senior facilities. The program now has over 50 active volunteers matched with participating seniors from New York City, Washington DC, Ohio, Louisiana, South Dakota, Colorado, Arizona and California. The One Call a Day volunteer program will expand into new Cox markets including Rhode Island, Virginia, and Florida.
“To know someone cares and you are not alone can change the trajectory of your day and even your outlook on life,” said Vaneri. “Our employees are making a simple phone call, but the impact is beyond measure.”
One Call a Day is a part of a larger focus on driving greater human connection. The company’s campaign shares the stories of members of San Diego Oasis, a senior community center in San Diego that closed due to the pandemic leaving hundreds of seniors at home alone. The staff at San Diego Oasis quickly acted to virtualize curriculum offered by professors and experts in history, humanities, language, technology, art, finance, fitness, and more. A short film captures the importance of connection and the real power of technology to bring us closer to one another at a time when it’s needed.
One Call a Day and Virtual Senior Center come on the heels of Cox’s recent Connection Project campaign called #NowMoreThanEver, a non-branded campaign which began the COVID-19 period by reaching people with messages of connection. From shopping carts, asking people to “help a senior they know get the things they need” to pizza boxes prompting them to call grandma, the effort was aimed to inspire people to reach out to communities, friends and family.
For more information on ways in which Cox is serving communities amid COVID-19, visit https://www.cox.com/residential/support/coronavirus-response.html.