How to Feel Less Lonely with 70 Strong

Do you worry about your aging parents, grandparents, uncles, and aunts?

At the nonprofit Peninsula Family Service, we focus on keeping older adults active, engaged and supported through peer counseling and other services.

A terrific program for older people who live in the Sequoia Healthcare District is 70 Strong– it’s a combination of a free referral, website and concierge service. The Sequoia Healthcare District is a special district in Northern California encompassing Atherton, Belmont, Redwood City, San Carlos, Woodside and Portola Valley and parts of Menlo Park, Foster City and San Mateo (ZIP code 94404).

While some people worry about poor health, we are also concerned with loneliness. As former U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy said in the Harvard Business Review, “Loneliness and weak social connections are associated with a reduction in lifespan similar to that caused by smoking 15 cigarettes a day and even greater than that associated with obesity.”

As Peninsula Family Service CEO Heather Cleary says, this is not an exaggeration. In fact, word is spreading in the social services field that the lack of socialization (support systems and community engagement) is a public health issue.

This is a concern that has no borders. The United Kingdom recently appointed a “Minister of Loneliness.”

Here in San Mateo County, whether the need is a new fitness class, a place to play cards, information on aging in place or obtaining free or low-cost cell phones or a warm lunch, help is available at or by calling 650.780.7547.

Our Community Navigators make the rounds of libraries and community centers, as well as senior housing, to reach out and help older adults and seniors feel connected via free and low-cost activities and services in our community. You could easily consider our Navigators “Ambassadors of Friendliness and Knowledge.”

Here’s Where to Meet the Navigators

Meet in person with a 70 Strong Community Navigator (an “Ambassador of Friendliness and Knowledge”). They visit the following locations frequently. Call to make an appointment to meet in person or by phone at 650.780.7547.

This piece was written by Susan Houston, Director of Older Adult Services at Peninsula Family Service.