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As pandemic wears on, seniors find walks, pen pals and phone calls alleviate isolation

Gloria Coats turns to Psalms 100, one of her favorite passages, in her personal bible

Gloria Coats turns to Psalms 100, one of her favorite passages, in her personal bible. Faith has been central to getting Coats through the pandemic. "I never would have made it without Jesus," Coats said. "He's got to lead and guide you every step of the way. He never leaves you."

This article is the second of a two-part look at elderly isolation, with a focus on what people are doing to alleviate it. The first focused on the problem.

Older people who maintain social connections have a 50% greater likelihood of survival. It’s that simple.

Gloria Coats, 94, lives alone on Worley st. where she has been isolating

Gloria Coats, 94, lives alone on Worley Street where she has been isolating — with occasional visits from her children — since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Her nine children in town visit her, but she doesn’t go out. “I have plenty of company,” Coats said.

Delois Yocum, 68, shows off a pack of cards

Delois Yocum, 68, shows off a pack of cards on Saturday just outside of Columbia. Yocum deals with the isolation of COVID-19 by playing with her puppy, working on puzzles or playing with cards. Of the pandemic she said: "I don't know how we are ever going to get it down if everyone is not participating with the mask wearing and social distancing."

Delois Yocum, 68, is a senior living alone and isolating during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Delois Yocum, 68, is a senior living alone and isolating during the COVID-19 pandemic. "I used to laugh and tell people I love my house but I don't see much of it," Yocum said. "I used to go to the ARC, club meetings, church. COVID just kind of put a damper on real life."

Brian Foster, left, and Jerry Murrell walk around the neighborhoods off of Green Meadows Dr.

Brian Foster, left, and Jerry Murrell walk around the neighborhoods off of Green Meadows on Tuesday, in northwest Columbia. During their walks, Foster and Murrell count the windows on garage doors to determine how many windows each street has on its garage doors. This house, with its 12 windows, was the only one on the street with windows in its garage door.

Brian Foster, left, and Jerry Murrell take a break during their daily

Brian Foster, left, and Jerry Murrell take a break during their daily walk on Tuesday in northwest Columbia. Foster and Murrell meet up every morning to go for a socially distanced 1 1/2-hour walk around the neighborhoods off of Green Meadows Drive.

  • Public Health and Safety reporter, fall 2020. I'm a junior studying arts and culture magazine journalism. Reach me at janaemckenzie@mail.missouri.edu, or in the newsroom at 882-5720.

  • I'm the public safety and health editor at the Missourian and a professor in the School of Journalism. I'm experienced in directing investigative projects. Call me at (573) 882-1792 with story tips, ideas or complaints.

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