From the Desk of Dawn Quattlebaum | Our Shared Impact
These past 18 months have put a spotlight on one of the many challenging issues faced by older adults—social isolation. The older population is growing quickly, families are becoming more dispersed and reliable support networks are scarce. As a result, the CDC reports that nearly a quarter of Americans aged 65 and over are considered to be socially isolated. Locally, it is estimated by the United Health Foundation that older adults in the District are at the highest risk of social isolation compared to those in other states.
The pandemic forced all of us into isolation. The vaccine provided hope for returning to a familiar way of life, and as the Delta variant appeared and COVID-19 cases began to rise, your support allowed us to adjust and adapt. Through it all, we have consistently cared for older adults as part of the Seabury family—checking in on them, making sure they have meals they enjoy, and encouraging them to participate in Seabury’s virtual and in-person activities and wide variety of programming.
Building a caring community has been a priority for Seabury since 1924, when a donated house became a home for older widows. Addressing social isolation remains a critical part of our mission to help older adults age with dignity.
Your generosity fuels this mission, and impacts the lives of thousands. Please allow me to introduce you to Irene, who found Seabury when she felt very alone.
Irene lives by herself so when she caught COVID-19 earlier this year, she knew she
needed support. She was referred to Seabury. For six months, she received weekly
calls from the same Seabury staff member. Irene looked forward to these calls because
“she was checking on me on a regular basis . . . I felt she cared, I felt she listened
. . . I felt like I was having a little support because I always feel like I’m alone. I’m
not close with my family anymore.”
Irene is now fully recovered and recently participated in a series of virtual art classes
that Seabury offered to engage clients while they could not visit their homes. Irene wa
hesitant about taking the class because she does not draw but decided to give it a try.
She now says, “I really, really loved that class.”
Irene also now uses ConnectorCard and maintains her active lifestyle and
independence through the transportation subsidies that Seabury provides through the
D.C. Department of Aging and Community Living. Recently she remarked, “It’s just nice
to be able to catch a cab when you really need one.”
I am sure you have an older friend, neighbor, or relative that you call or visit because you care. Seabury cares too. Together, we can create a brighter future where everyone can age with dignity.
Dawn M. Quattlebaum