This remembrance is reprinted from the Institute on Aging’s website and edited to adhere to ASA style.
With deep respect and compassion, we bid farewell to the remarkable Dr. Patrick Arbore, Ed.D., an extraordinary visionary and tireless advocate for the well-being of older adults and individuals living with disabilities. His unwavering commitment to preventing elder suicide and offering solace to those affected by grief has left an indelible impact on countless lives.
As we mourn his passing on May 27, we are reminded of the profound significance of Dr. Arbore’s contributions. His legacy remains alive and vibrant within the Institute on Aging, where his vision and initiatives are an integral part of our mission. We are grateful for the invaluable work and inspiration that Dr. Arbore bestowed upon us. His memory will continue to guide us as we carry on his important mission of enhancing the lives of older adults and promoting compassionate care for all.
Tom Briody, CEO of the Institute on Aging, shared his reflections on Dr. Arbore’s legacy, “Patrick was a true pioneer in recognizing the power of compassion and conversation in addressing the emotional well-being of older adults. Friendship Line was born out of his deep empathy and unwavering commitment to making a difference. His impact on the lives of countless individuals is immeasurable.”
Dr. Arbore’s journey into the world of helping others began when he volunteered at San Francisco Suicide Prevention. Witnessing the alarmingly high rates of elder suicide victims, he recognized the urgent need for specialized support and intervention. In response, he founded the Center for Elderly Suicide Prevention and Grief-Related Services, a groundbreaking initiative dedicated to addressing the unique emotional challenges faced by seniors.
One of Dr. Arbore’s most notable contributions was the establishment in 1973 of the Friendship Line—a 24/7 warm line for elders and adults with disabilities. This lifeline provided a comforting voice and a listening ear to those who may have felt isolated and overlooked. Guided by Dr. Arbore’s compassion and empathy, the Friendship Line became a beacon of hope, connecting individuals with much-needed support and reminding them that they were never alone.
Over five decades, the Friendship Line has reshaped the conversation around suicide prevention by underscoring the importance of companionship and meaningful connections in fostering healthy aging. In 2014, he received the Jefferson Award, the country’s longest standing and most prestigious celebration of public service. In 2016, the Norma Satten Community Living Campaign recognized Dr. Arbore for his outstanding dedication to enhancing the quality of life for older adults.
Dr. Arbore’s profound impact on the lives of older adults and their families will continue to reverberate through the halls of the Institute on Aging and the hearts of all who have been touched by his kindness.
Dr. Arbore’s legacy reminds us of the power of compassion, empathy, and community, inspiring us to continue his mission of supporting and uplifting the lives of those in need. His legacy is a testament to the profound impact one can have when driven by the belief in the power of human connection. We are forever grateful for his tireless work and the connections he forged that bind us to life and one another.
Through his tireless efforts, he forged thousands of meaningful connections, offering solace and support to vulnerable individuals during the most challenging moments of their lives.
Last year’s Friendship Line call volume was 350,000 people.
In his own words, Dr. Arbore beautifully expressed that, “Connection is what binds us to life.”
Editor’s Note: Dr. Arbore contributed multiple articles to ASA publications and served from 2017–2021 as an incredibly open-minded, considered, and brilliant voice on the Generations Journal Editorial Advisory Board.