SCAN Club Issue 2 2024

SCAN Members Find They’re Stronger Together

SCAN member Dave J. lives alone in a mountain cabin he and his wife shared before she passed away three years ago. Without his own car, Dave rarely leaves home. Family members are far away; most of his friends are gone. At age 79, Dave would have little contact with the outside world if it wasn’t for the virtual meetings with a group of SCAN members every Friday morning.

Two senior men have tea together at a table.

“They’re my social life, my little adopted family,” Dave calls the members of Coffee and Conversation. The online social group is available through SCAN’s Togetherness program.

A Lifeline to the World

Dave says that although the group’s members participate from their own homes, the hour of conversation and companionship each week “makes me feel connected to a larger world than my little cabin here. It’s basically my lifeline to the world outside.”

Like Dave, Melinda O. looks forward to the group’s virtual get-togethers—so much so that she takes the phone off the hook during the group’s meetings.

“Most of my friends have passed away and I hardly ever see family,” she says. “So, it’s nice that I can sit in my comfy chair in my pjs with my coffee and talk with people I love every Friday.”

Samantha Tiscareno from SCAN often starts the conversation each week by suggesting a topic or inviting members to answer a question or play a simple game.

There’s no pressure to participate. Like Dave, Paul D. lost his wife about three years ago, lives alone and doesn’t have many friends or family in his area. He says he listened in the meetings for months before opening up to the group. Now he says, “I didn’t realize how much I missed having company.”

It’s Easier With Others

Before finding Coffee and Conversation, Paul was in Friendly Callers, another of SCAN’s Togetherness programs. Each week he would get a call from Tom, a SCAN employee who had many similar interests. “We would talk about anything and everything,” Paul says.

And when Paul joined a SCAN grief support group he found “it was very helpful to be with people you don’t have to explain anything to because they’ve endured the same kind of losses.”

Melinda finds connecting with and sharing experiences with peers makes many of life’s challenges easier to bear. She says, “We all have problems but it’s nice to get through them with others you can talk to.”

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