NewsHillsborough County


Low-cost programming helps Tampa seniors beat inflation isolation

isolated seniors
Posted at 10:22 PM, Aug 16, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-17 12:38:48-04

TAMPA, Fla. — To say Gail Militello likes pickleball is an understatement.

"Well, I'm competitive, so I like to hit the ball," she said, "Everybody I talk to says it's addictive."

And at 86 years old, she said it not only keeps her light on her feet but also mentally sound during the pandemic.

"It's very social, and most everyone I've met playing pickleball is very nice," she said.

And that socialization is something Dr. Manuel Jain says is especially important for seniors right now.

"Inflation has dramatically affected their ability to socialize," said Dr. Jain, internal medicine, WellMed at Haines City.

After more than two years of a global pandemic, Dr. Jain said many seniors on fixed incomes are now having to cut back on social spending to make sure they afford things like food, gas, and medicine.

And he added if you're worried about an older loved one, there are a few signs to look out for.

"Avoiding eye contact, when they stop telling you stories about their accomplishments and they more concentrate on minor illnesses that normally they would not talk about," he said.

For seniors who are struggling, the City of Tampa wants you to know that for $15 a year, you can access all of their recreation centers and much of their senior-focused programming.

And while you don't have to play pickleball, Gail does encourage you to get out of the house.

"When you get older, you have to move your body. And your mind. You have to meet people, [and] socialize. It's very important," Gail said.

For more information on senior programs happening in Tampa, click here.