Senior loneliness and how to combat it
Some of the biggest challenges later in life are senior loneliness and isolation. As families grow up, children move out, and seniors may become widowed, a new sort of existence arises. This may become difficult to bear unless we help them find meaning in a new lifestyle. In fact, according to a study published by the American Psychological Association, loneliness and social isolation may represent a greater public health hazard than obesity. Let’s find out how we can combat age-related senior loneliness and examine some useful examples.
Seniors find themselves in isolation which are arising health problems that inhibit mobility. Friends and family may also suffer from declining health or pass away. There are other reasons too, which we will discuss in this article.
Some say that loneliness has turned into an epidemic due to various factors. One of the most significant being increased mobility. As a result of industrial innovations, the ability to move around freely allows for frequent travel, work commutes, and a general openness to finding opportunities outside of the home.
Consequently, family structures have changed in this day and age. Women have a strong role in the workforce, and youth choose to consider better job prospects far from home.
There are amazing advances in society but we mustn’t disregard how this changing societal landscape may affect our senior citizens.
A new platform for combating loneliness
The Internet has become revolutionary in establishing a new way to connect to each other. The opportunities it has created for us are endless. However, we must acknowledge the fact that the elderly can find it challenging to understand and use. Our role as the younger generation is to create an efficient environment for educating our senior citizens in using technology.
AARP, the United States nonprofit organization dedicated to our senior citizens, has created a helpful initiative to combat isolation in the elderly called Connect2Affect. According to statistics on the website:
- More than 8 million adults age 50 and older are affected by isolation.
- The health risks of prolonged isolation are equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day.
We need to take the step to take care of our elderly loved ones and protect them from the consequences of living alone. Connect2Affect is a project aimed to help seniors and their friends and family take an active role in fighting loneliness by providing useful resources. It is a platform made to connect people with a shared experience.
Creating strong connections via the Internet is possible
Connecting online with family and friends is a great solution for the elderly who have mobility impairments. It helps those who have relatives living far away and thus experience infrequent visits. Being online also helps the older generation tune into a larger world where they can choose news based on their own interests. They can read from multiple sources, and become tech citizens representing their generation.
An extremely helpful tool to provide seniors with easy access to technology is Oscar Senior. It is an application that you can use to help your senior loved one fight loneliness by using the Internet.
The older generation can find it difficult to handle a computer with its standard tools. Multiple small icons, pop-up ads, logins, and many other aspects may easily confuse and discourage the elderly from feeling confident using computers.
With Oscar Senior however, seniors can discover how simple and straightforward it can be to log in to chat or video call with family in real time, read news, or play games. The app can be downloaded on a tablet or smartphone. Creating strong connections via the Internet is possible. With the right tools, we can help our elderly connect to us as well as to the virtual world.
Oscar Senior’s remote access feature allows seniors’ family members to access their account. They can help with modifying the features in the app or solve and issues that come up. A tech savvy Oscar Senior companion can log in and fix problems without the senior needing to do anything.
Studying helps seniors stay connected to the world
Another great means to fighting loneliness in the old age is the concept of lifelong learning. Keeping the mind active and busy is wonderful for maintaining good mental health. For many seniors, going into retirement is an extremely difficult process. Not only do they lose their daily routine, their sense of duty, but also the social connections from their workplace.
However, the elderly can profit from their new-found free time by studying something new. Choice is deepening on their knowledge in something they have experience in. There are many opportunities for online study. Many of them for free!
Incredibly big participation from the elderly has been found in MOOCs (massive online education courses). Coursera, FutureLearn, Open2Study platforms are just a few of the MOOCs available online that offer free courses from a variety of interesting subjects.
Studying is not only an antidote to aging but helps establish social connections. With new courses come new classmates. Forums and chats help seniors connect with others and share ideas. Common ground such as a sharing subject, is always a good base to the start of new friendships.
A study published in the Interactive Journal of Medical Research show the level of participation of elderly learners in MOOCs. For the over-56 age group participation in courses ranged from 3.0% (on “Writing in English”) to 39.5% (on “Heart health”). There is undoubtedly a marked interest in learning among seniors. The simplicity and convenience of learning over the Internet is certainly an advantage for anyone who is looking for a way to study from their own home.
Bringing technological solutions to our seniors is the answer to combating solitude that they face in this season of life. Giving our seniors new tools to connect to the world can improve their quality of life to a remarkable extent.
Start with Oscar Senior application.