COVID-19 UPDATE: Elderly & Isolated

inNewson June 29, 2020

Robert Lee Coleman of Macon, GA. Photo by Timothy Duffy

Loneliness is a recurring subject in the Blues. A lover gone or the loss of a family member typically inspires one of the most archetypal themes within the genre. For our Partner Artists, music serves as a much needed salve for coping with such hardships. But things have changed in the world of COVID-19.  Our Partner Artists used to be able to take the stage or meet up with friends to combat loneliness and social isolation – a common issue among seniors.

The fear of contracting the coronavirus is a very real concern for our Partner Artists. Being Black and elderly makes them much more susceptible to severe outcomes if they get COVID-19, forcing them to become more isolated than before the pandemic. While Music Maker has been working diligently to provide material necessities such as groceries, grants and medicine, there is another meaningful element to our work. Our Partner Artists have told us that the most important thing that Music Maker does is call to check in. Our regular check-ins are vital to combating loneliness while our partners are isolated. Artist Support Specialist, Christelle Ndong, MSW, and volunteers under her supervision, formed a COVID-19 Care Team to support our Partner Artists during the pandemic. They have been on the phone nonstop with our constituents in order to keep them safe and informed.

“[This is] a generation that’s aging, and unless we support them now, we won’t have the opportunity to celebrate their gifts in the future.”

– Carey Barnes, Music Maker donor and volunteer

With no end in sight for the pandemic, Music Maker is devising more strategies to address the ongoing issue of loneliness  – the health implications of which are very serious. Premature death, increased risk of dementia, stroke and heart failure have all been associated with seniors who are socially isolated. (Learn more about the impacts of social isolation via the CDC.)


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