JAMESTOWN, N.Y.:--The Chautauqua County Office for Aging Services presents a local screening of All the Lonely People, a social-impact film examining the epidemic of loneliness. The in-person screening, which is free and open to the public, will be held on Friday, November 4, 2022 at 3 p.m. at the Robert H. Jackson Center, 305 E. 4th Ave. in Jamestown, N.Y. It will include a facilitated Q&A with the film’s producers and local officials, offering a forum for community discussion about ways to develop resilience and implement strategies to combat social isolation.
The event is part of a statewide screening tour organized by the New York State Office for the Aging (NYSOFA), the Association on Aging in New York (AgingNY), and locally by the Chautauqua County Office for Aging Services.
In 2017, the U.S. Surgeon General declared social isolation to be a “global epidemic” – one that has only worsened in the COVID-19 health emergency. According to the AARP Public Policy Institute, social isolation drives $6.7 billion in additional associated Medicare spending per year. The health consequences of loneliness and isolation are equivalent to smoking almost a pack of cigarettes daily. The added stress of feeling alone increases heart disease and even earlier onset of dementia.
All The Lonely People examines this epidemic on a deeply personal level. It follows a handful of people from different walks of life as they overcome social isolation and chronic loneliness, including New York residents Ari Rossen and Tony Westbrook, as well as people like Mary Hill, an 89-year-old caregiver who faces isolation in the rural countryside of England.
“All The Lonely People shines a light on an issue that many people were unaware existed until the pandemic forced us all into lockdown, “said Dr. Mary Ann Spanos, Director of the Chautauqua County Office for Aging Services. “Social isolation and loneliness can have a real impact on our health, quality of life, and ability to thrive in the community. It is a problem that can effect anyone of any age even if there is no pandemic. I am very excited to bring this film to Chautauqua County and hope you will all join us for viewing and discussion.”
NYSOFA Director Greg Olsen said, "About a year ago, I had the privilege of previewing this powerful documentary. I immediately saw its alignment with the work that NYSOFA and the aging services network are collectively doing to combat social isolation for older adults. I also saw it as a tool to raise awareness about the need for this work on multiple levels, including a broader community reach, as isolation impacts people of all ages. The film examines an issue that profoundly affects older adults, but it also features people from all walks of life and age groups, showing the many ways that we are all touched by social isolation. This is an issue that existed prior to the pandemic. Yet the social disruptions of COVID-19 fundamentally exacerbated it – and, in many ways, helped open our eyes to the problem. NYSOFA is proud to work with filmmakers from the Clowder Group and local partners to host these screenings and use the power of film to inspire conversation about one of the most pressing cultural issues of our time."
Association on Aging In New York (AgingNY) Executive Director Becky Preve said, “The Association on Aging in New York is thrilled to bring the award-winning producers of All the Lonely People to New York. Social isolation has far-reaching, devastating impacts, and the aging services network has worked diligently to address this public health epidemic. All the Lonely People is a thought-provoking documentary that not only looks at the issue across the age spectrum, but it also provides tools for local communities to address social isolation. The opportunity to bring film screenings to all areas of the state will raise awareness of this critical issue, opening up conversation at the local level on effective ways to address the serious issues examined by this film. This project again shows the commitment of New York State to support older New Yorkers and their families.”
All The Lonely People Producer Joe Applebaum said, "We are thrilled at this opportunity to support organizations across the state that are doing amazing things to ease loneliness and isolation. New York is making a meaningful commitment to easing loneliness and isolation.”
All The Lonely People Writer and Director Stu Maddux said, “This is more than just watching a film. It’s a chance to reconnect after a life-changing few years of isolation.”
For more information, contact NY Connects Helpline at 716-753-4582.