Tools and Resources that help seniors lessen loneliness and isolation
Senior Care professionals know that feeling lonely gravely affects an adult’s health and welfare. The U.S. Census data in 2010 showed that 28% of people aged 65 and older lived alone. Another study by AARP reported that baby boomers have fewer children or none at all when compared to other generations.
Two factors that gravely affect these feelings are immobility and lack of transportation. Both add pressure to stay close to home. So, if one has no access to social activities, they will isolate. A Case Western Reserve University study shows that Internet adoption encourages the emotional health of seniors (2013.) The scientists gave 25 assisted living residents a digital tablet and Internet training. After three months of usage, the individuals reported an upsurge in life satisfaction.
SeniorCare.com asked senior care thought leaders to give a primary resource to help relieve the isolation issue.
Senior centers – Offer a range of activities, exercise classes, and events at reasonable costs. Margo Rose, Body Aware Grieving.
Meetup Groups – It’s a fun way to meet new people, interact with others who share common interests. Meetups help all ages to make new friends and overcome loneliness and depression. Gjenes Belamide, Bay Alarm Medical
City libraries – Sign up for their monthly newsletter to catch current events. Most are free. Kaye Swain, SandwichInk
Become a volunteer; check out the National Service Senior Corp website and sign up to volunteer. It’s one of the better options to remain active and involved. Shannon Martin, Aging Wisely.
Foster a grandchild – visit The National Service Senior Corp and consider sharing time with younger people. We encourage adults to join groups that help them deal with loneliness and depression. David Mordehi, Advise, and Protect.
Join the activities
The Senior care section on About.com devotes activity ideas for professionals, but seniors can use them too. Anthony Cirillo, AgingExperience.com.
Check out the Creative Aging website for adult involvement. It includes volunteer activities. Tim Murray, Aware Senior Care.
Become a Mentor
Teach technology classes or help students with homework. The activity builds strong ties. Online relationships are dynamic and expand into interesting conversations. Nancy Ruffner, NavigateNC.
Check out the American Diabetes Association for adults living with the disease. It provides education and resources as well as a chat ability, social networking, and links to local groups and activities that engage individuals. Kelly Lee Hardin, MSN, RN, CDE, Telcare
Practice meditation and mindfulness–Research from UCLA suggests a short 8-week program of meditation focusing on mindfulness (attention to the present) can reduce feelings of loneliness and might even stoke an anti-inflammatory response in the body. Stephan Forman, LTC Associates.
Carol Marak is a contributor for the senior living and healthcare market.