Social isolation and loneliness in seniors is more prevalent than people realize. Several research studies show that social isolation is a huge health risk for seniors. They are more likely to have a heart attack or stroke, to develop type 2 diabetes and suffer from cognitive decline. Also, they’re twice as likely to die prematurely.
Indeed, companionship is the best cure. But, it gets more difficult as you get older. Children move away, or even if they’re local, they are busy with family and friends. Friends and a spouse pass away, and physically, it just gets harder to move around.
What to do?
Social Isolation: Several Therapies To Consider
Technologies like FaceTime and Skype have long been commonplace in the workplace and for savvy smartphone users, but caregivers are increasingly finding these tools can be key to staying connected from afar. Daily face-to-face interactions with older parents can make it easier to spot subtle changes in physical or mental health that may require extra care. “It’s important to see people,” says Friend, speaking as both a son and a doctor. “You can tell a lot from facial expression.”
Telemedicine is a tremendous advancement in medical care, especially for senior citizens. Isolation from their primary physician is no longer a concern.
It’s now possible to be in immediate contact with your doctor or nurse without leaving the house. Vital signs such as glucose levels and overall wellness, can be monitored.
You can now see the contents of a refrigerator from hundreds of miles away.
Smart refrigerators that have Wi-Fi-connected cameras allow doctors and caregivers the ability to monitor their senior’s patient’s nutrition. The ability to have a real-time window into an older adult’s daily nutrition keeps them connected and motivated.
Artificial intelligence has now come to the animal kingdom.
Research shows that playing with a pooch or petting a purring kitty brings seniors much joy. However, while some seniors want to be independent and still live at home, they are unable to care for a pet. (both young and old) plenty of joy, but many older adults are unable to care for a real pet.
Robotic pets are designed to provide the same kind of comfort, companionship and fun as the real-life dogs and cats they mimic. They have realistic fur and a vibrating heartbeat. Plus, they respond to being petted, talked to and hugged much like their live counterparts.
Caregivers report that the pets bring happiness and comfort to older adults, especially those with memory deficits.