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Rep. Molinaro Introduces Bipartisan Bill to Bring Friendly Calls for Seniors Program to National Level

Washington, DC – Inspired by the Dutchess County Friendly Calls for Seniors program, U.S. Rep. Marc Molinaro (R-NY-19) today introduced the Friendly Calls For Our Seniors Act, a bipartisan bill that will combat isolation among seniors in Upstate New York and across the country. Rep. Molinaro introduced this bipartisan bill with Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI-6), Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01), Donald G. Davis (D-NC-01) and Susie Lee (D-NV-3). 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), nearly one-fourth of adults aged 65 and older are considered to be socially isolated. Isolation can increase risk for dementia, heart disease, stroke, obesity, mental health disorders, and can increase a person’s risk of premature death. Individuals with disabilities and those living in rural communities also face an increased risk of isolation due to inadequate access to health care, a lack of community events or activities for older adults, limited transportation, and higher rates of poverty.

To alleviate feelings of loneliness, earlier this year, Dutchess County launched the Friendly Calls program. The program trains volunteers to connect with older adults through weekly phone calls. Rep. Molinaro’s bill builds on this effort by making federal funds available to states like New York to begin providing telephone services to isolated older adults, with a focus on individuals with disabilities and those living in rural communities. 

Rep. Molinaro said, “We know social isolation can create medical complications and take years off people’s lives. That’s why I am proud to bring the successful Friendly Calls for Seniors Program to the national level. The effort connects volunteer callers with older adults and prioritizes calls to individuals with disabilities and those living in rural, isolated areas. With something as simple as a weekly phone call, we can combat loneliness and help older adults live fulfilling, dignified, and independent lives.”

Bill Sweeney, AARP’s Senior Vice President of Government Affairs said, “AARP is pleased to endorse the Friendly Calls for Our Seniors Act introduced by Representatives Molinaro (R-NY), Dingell (D-MI), Fitzpatrick (R-PA), Davis (D-NC), and Lee (D-NV). This bill will help increase social connections for older adults and connect them to resources in their communities. We appreciate their bipartisan efforts to address loneliness and social isolation among older Americans.”