Staying Connected: Resources for Older Adults

Many Americans suffer from lack of connection with others.  The Surgeon General’s 2023 report Our Epidemic of Loneliness and Isolation, opens a new window explains how loneliness is “far more than just a bad feeling—it harms both individual and societal health. It is associated with a greater risk of cardiovascular disease, dementia, stroke, depression, anxiety, and premature death.”

In Marin County, loneliness is especially prevalent among older adults – the percentage of individuals over 65 living alone is a third higher than the rest of California. (Healthy Marin County, opens a new window)

How to combat loneliness and isolation?

One place to start is by viewing a recent library presentation by Paul Mangal, PhD. In the presentation, Dr. Mangal discusses the health impacts of social isolation, and provides practical tips for connecting with others.  The presentation may be viewed on YouTube, opens a new window.

The list below provides further resources for older adults in Marin County to connect with others: at the Marin County Free Library; through other Marin organizations and services; and through social media and other computer technology.

Connect With Others at the Library

The Marin County Free Library offers many opportunities for connecting with others. Several of our programs take place on a regular basis, providing an opportunity for developing relationships with others in the community who also may attend regularly. For more library events, check our Events Calendar.

Inverness Library Coffee Klatch
Meets every Wednesday from 10 – 11 a.m.  Join librarians and fellow patrons for coffee, tea, and conversation.  For more information, call (415) 669-1288.

Fairfax Library Community Poetry Group
Local poet and author Brent MacKinnon leads this group, which meets on the third Monday of every month, from 5 – 7 p.m.  Collaborate with others in a welcoming environment using in-class writing, positive feedback, and suggested themes and review of poetic forms.  For more information, call (415) 924-3515.

Fairfax Library Fabric and Fiber Makers’ Club
For quilters and knitters. Meets on the 2nd Monday of each month from 6 – 7:45 pm. For more information, call (415) 924-3515.

Novato Library Knitfest
Meets the 4th Wednesday of the month at 5:30 pm.  Bring in your own projects to work on in a fun, social environment. For more information, call (415) 473-2050.

Book Clubs
Several of our branches host Book Clubs that meet on a regular basis, both on site and on Zoom.

GetSetUp: Live Online Classes for Older Adults, opens a new window
Through the library, you can also access GetSetUp, an online community of people who want to learn new skills, connect with others, and unlock new life experiences in small intimate classes. Their safe, social and interactive learning environment has been specifically designed for active older adults. Topics of classes include art therapy, learning Spanish, cooking, and more.

Local Social Service Agencies and Groups

Several Marin County and California organizations offer free services in which one can connect with others by telephone for information, conversation and emotional support, or in-person social visits.

AARP Friendly Voice, opens a new window
“If you or someone you love is feeling isolated or anxious in these challenging times, hearing a friendly voice on the phone may help.  That’s why we created the AARP Friendly Voice program – a trained, caring group of volunteers standing by ready to chat, listen, or just say hello.” Request a free call by dialing AARP at 1-888-281-0145 (English) or 1-888-497-4108 (Spanish), between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Front Porch: Social Call, opens a new window
This free service connects adults 60 years old and over with volunteers for weekly one on one conversations, by phone or video; available throughout the United States.

Friendship Line California  1-888-670-1360, opens a new window
From the Institute on Aging, calling this toll free number will connect all California residents 60 years and older with “a caring, compassionate voice ready to listen and provide emotional support.”  The Friendship Line is a “free crisis intervention hotline” as well as a resource for “non-emergency emotional support calls.”  Available in English and Spanish.

Good Fairy Marin, opens a new window
This online community can help find a volunteer to help with needs such as shopping for groceries, emotional support (phone calls, virtual visits), and counseling support (grief, depression, loneliness).

LITA (Love is the Answer): One-to-One Friends, opens a new window
This free program “matches volunteers with residents of long-term care facilities for weekly visits.” LITA’s “100 volunteers … work with 28 of the 55 {long term care] facilities throughout Marin. These dedicated volunteers bring personal friendships to the residents, may bring their friendly dog, or even play music. With every visit and through every volunteer interaction, LITA strives to “bring the warmth and vitality of the Marin community directly to residents so that they feel seen, heard and cared about.” For more information, call 415-472-5482.

Vivalon Friendly Visits, opens a new window
Vivalon provides free phone calls with a friendly, caring volunteer, and in-person, physically distanced social visits.  For additional information, call 415-456-9062.

988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline, opens a new window
“The 988 Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the United States.”

Marin Health & Human Services: Aging and Adult Services, opens a new window (415) 473-INFO (4636)

  • Information and Assistance (I&A) social workers answer calls from the public regarding the full range of social services and related resources available to Marin County older adults, adults with disabilities and family caregivers.
  • Assist callers in clarifying their needs and desires
  • Language Translation Available: Social workers who speak Spanish are available during business hours.  All language translation services are also available.
  • In-depth face-to-face meetings for more complex referrals


In addition to staying active and helping others, volunteering is a way to get to know people and develop friendships. Find volunteer opportunities on the following websites:

Activities & Classes

Signing up for an activity or class is a great way to meet others. The following organizations offer recreational and educational opportunities for older adults.  Some of these organizations may require a fee for membership or for enrolling in a class.

College of Marin: Community Education, opens a new window
“College of Marin Community Education offers short-term classes designed to meet the community’s learning needs, from personal enrichment to career enhancement. College credit is not given and there are no tests or grades.”

The Emeritus Students College of Marin (ESCOM), opens a new window
“Emeritus Students of College of Marin (ESCOM) was designed to foster lifelong learning opportunities for adults of Marin County through educational, social and cultural activities under the auspices of the College of Marin.”

Front Porch: Well Connected, opens a new window
Well Connected is a free “national phone and online community that brings people together to explore, learn, laugh, and share experiences.  Over 3.500 members from across the country join educational, fun, and engaging groups from the comfort of home.”

Marin Villages, opens a new window
Marin Villages is “reimagining aging and community for older adults. Our members and volunteers enjoy living in the places they already call home, coming together for events and celebrations, building new friendships, and supporting each other through the journey of getting older.”  The organization offers “a range of events each month to suit diverse interests, from coffees and meals to books, games, a men's group, needle arts, fine arts, speakers, training, walks, and hikes.”

Marin YMCA, opens a new window
“We provide various activities for Y-Adult ages 60+ years. From exercise classes to trips and lifelong learning programs, seniors will experience a strong sense of belonging and create a network of friends who provide support for sustained health and well-being.”

Osher Marin JCC, opens a new window
“From San Rafael, CA, the Osher Marin Adult Learning & Living program invites all—members, non-members, residents near or far, people of all backgrounds, faiths, ethnicities, fashion styles, chocolate preferences—to explore the arts, build a broader understanding of our world, taste a few treats together, and possibly pick up a new skill or two.”

San Rafael Goldenaires
The San Rafael Goldenaires Senior Citizen Organization "offers adults over the age of 62 the opportunity to meet and socialize with other people. Join us for classes, which include woodcarving, painting, bridge, and more. Our special events include monthly trips to fun destinations around the Bay Area, Broadway theater productions, and extended tours throughout the state. We also have a great time at our monthly themed luncheons, dinner dances and our annual craft fair." The membership fee is $40 per year.

Vivalon, opens a new window
Vivalon “helps Marin County’s older adults and vulnerable residents thrive through the power of human connection with rides, meals, classes, care, advice and more.”  Check their website for a schedule of classes.

Vivalon also publishes a Directory of Older Adult Services for Marin County, opens a new window.
The directory includes listings for organizations offering Recreation and Social Connection opportunities, such as Bingo games and chess clubs, and senior centers in Marin offering craft and exercise classes and other activities.

Help with Social Media and Other Computer Technology

If you need help using your phone, computer, or other device to connect with others, the following resources that provide free tutoring and instruction.

Connected California, opens a new window
This service from the California State Library will connect you with a Digital Navigator who can help you find low-cost internet service and learn basic computer skills.  Register on their website or call 1-800-790-5319 for more information.  Assistance available in English and Spanish.

Vivalon: Talking Tech, opens a new window
Vivalon offers free “on-site, in-home, and virtual programs to help you learn how to use your device, access services online, and understand online safety – from mastering email and video chat, to learning how to communicate with your doctor via healthcare applications.”  Marin County residents age 60+, and individuals with disabilities of any age are eligible.  Free devices available for those who meet income criteria.  Help is available in English and Spanish.

Computer Help at the Library

Civic Center Library: Help by Appointment
Reserve a one-on-one, 30-minute session with a Library staff member to receive tech help. Learn how to navigate your laptop, tablet, or smartphone with ease and start to understand the programs, apps, and digital library services that you use in your everyday life.  Half hour sessions offered on Wednesdays, 11 am and 11:30 am. Help is available in English and Spanish.  Sign up in person at the Civic Center Library main desk or call 415-473-6057.

Marin City Library: Drop-In Tech Help
Saturdays, 12-4 pm. For more information, call (415) 332-6158.

Marin City Library: Webstars, opens a new window
The WebStar Program is “designed to empower young people through computer training, opportunities to work with the public in a library setting and participation in internship programs with local technology companies or career in the library field.”
One-on-one help is available for computer and internet basics, email, iPhone basics, Microsoft Word, and more.  Register online, opens a new window, or call the Marin City Library at (415) 332-6158 for more information.

Novato Library: One-on-One Technology Help in Spanish by Appointment
Monday through Thursday at 11 am, 3 pm, and 6 pm.  Sign up in person at the Novato Library main desk or call 415-473-2050.

Novato Library / Technology4Life
The Novato Library has partnered with Techology4Life, opens a new window to provide monthly classes on a variety of computer-related topics. Some of the classes are held in the Novato Library, and others are offered on Zoom. The mission of Technology4Life is to “teach adults how to integrate technology into their daily lives to increase their connection to family and community and to cultivate greater confidence and independence.” For Zoom classes, register online. Call (415) 473-2050 for more information.

Point Reyes Library: Drop in Tech Help and Tips
Thursdays 6-8 pm and Fridays 10 am-12 pm.  Bring your devices and/or your questions and get one-on-one assistance from library staff. For more information, call (415) 663-8375.

Chromebooks and Hotspots

All of our branches have Chromebooks and Wi-Fi Hotspots that you can borrow for 2 weeks. Contact your local branch about availability. It is possible to check them out separately or together, depending on your preference and branch availability.

Currently, both types of devices check out for 2 weeks with no renewals. It is not possible to place a hold on these items online. Please check with your local branch for more details. Chromebooks and Hotspots should be returned to the branch where they were checked out.

Writing and research: Tom