Staying Connected: How Technology Can Help Combat Social Isolation in SeniorsPOSTED:
As our senior population grows and ages, so too do the issues they face in maintaining social connections with their peers and loved ones. Loneliness and depression are common among this demographic, and with recent studies showing that seniors who feel lonely die earlier than those who feel connected to their friends and family, it’s more important than ever to find ways to combat social isolation and promote mental health among senior citizens. Fortunately, technology has advanced at such a rapid pace that now there are all kinds of apps, programs, and tools to help seniors stay connected with loved ones from the comfort of their own homes.
Social Isolation and Covid19
The extreme social isolation that came with the outbreak of Covid19 in 2020, became a life-or-death issue for the senior community and not necessarily due to the virus itself, but from severe depression and anxiety. Most senior citizens that reside in facilities that care for them, closed down visits from relatives and friends all together; to protect their residents from getting sick.
Holidays, weekends and birthdays went without them being able to see their loved ones. This portion of the population was most negatively affected by the COVID-19, because the were the least likely to be able to access the resources put in place to mitigate the social aspect that came with the pandemic.
How is Social Isolation Affecting Senior Community?
People feel more socially isolated than ever before. Some argue that our addiction to technology is one of reasons for rising rates of social isolation. On average, Americans spend 8 hours a day using their smartphones. That doesn’t include time spent on computers, tablets, or other devices. Even people who are married and living with their spouse are finding themselves feeling lonelier as they trade meaningful communication for brief text messages that take less effort to type and send.
Tools and Technologies That are Changing the Face of Aging
The senior population is rapidly increasing, and people are living longer than ever before. So, it’s no surprise that older adults are eager to maintain independence as they age. Fortunately, there are many innovative technologies available to help seniors maintain their health and quality of life. These tools can provide important information about care for seniors, monitor vital signs and environmental conditions, track medications and appointments, assist with mobility and more.
The iPad has been a favorite tool for seniors. It gained so much popularity among this group because it provides larger icons of their favorite apps that kept them connected to the world, news, and their loved ones. Grannies were sharing pictures of their grandkids while in quarantine with other residents of senior facilities. People could video chat, stream on Netflix in high definition, and journal about their experiences.
What Does This Mean for Our Parents and Grandparents?
The majority of seniors use social media, and thanks to technology, they can stay connected with their loved ones through a number of different platforms. It’s important to note that social media isn’t one-size-fits-all—each platform has a distinct purpose. While Facebook and WhatsApp are great for staying up to date on friends and family, other apps might be better suited for engaging in meaningful conversation or meeting new people, like dating apps designed for their demographic.
Other enormous impact relies in medical & legal appointments. Senior citizens are now able to see their doctors and lawyers through a screen, without having to leave their homes or residences. They can also older their groceries without leaving their couches.
But the biggest impact must be the welcoming of the technology by a group of society that tends to reject it.
The Future of Senior Care
Recent developments in technology have made it easier than ever for seniors to remain connected and engaged with friends, family members, and even total strangers. It’s become easier to track seniors who may be wandering or going missing. Friends and family can see when their loved ones are lonely, based on social media posts that show they haven’t posted anything recently. They can connect via video calls or messaging systems like Skype and Google Hangouts.
More and more, technology is now focused on meeting the needs of their demographic, thus shortening the gap that was very present before the pandemic.
Refurbished Devices for the Senior Community
Refurbished devices are a great way for Seniors to get the latest technology that can help them communicate, run errands, get help, and have fun, without emptying their savings. The biggest deterrent for the elderly in any type of purchase, is mostly the cost.
Here at Loop, we ensure trust in our Senior community, growing fast in numbers, by guaranteeing a one-year warranty, free 30-day return policy, free shipping and excellent customer service; put in place so that we can solve their doubts and grant reassurance from a human being.
We have seen in the past years, that providing human contact has contributed to the growth in our senior demographic, and we will continue to develop more people-oriented solutions that create trust, and that better the life of our loyal community.
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