In today’s transient society, families are often separated by many miles. It makes frequent visits tough. Other times, health concerns keep loved ones apart. Yet staying connected is an essential part of successful aging. Isolated older adults experience higher rates of health issues than their more engaged peers.
A few medical problems linked to isolation among seniors include heart disease, depression, obesity, and diabetes. Even more alarming is the research on early mortality—socially isolated seniors are 26% more likely to experience early death.
Finding ways to stay in touch with the older adults in your family is essential. Fortunately, technology makes this easier than ever.
Tech to Connect with Senior Loved Ones
While nothing can replace in-person gatherings, these tech options are the next best thing:
- Smart phone: Don’t believe the myth that seniors can’t master technology. According to Pew Research Center, four out of ten seniors own a smart phone. That’s double the amount from 2013. In addition to making it easier to catch up, apps like FaceTime allow for more personal conversations.
- Video chat: While phone calls are nice, video chat platforms on a tablet or laptop let families experience a face-to-face conversation. They also enable an adult child to assess a parent’s appearance for changes. Flushed cheeks, weight loss, and disheveled hair are a few signs the senior may be struggling. Skype and Zoom are two free, easy-to-use chat services. Houseparty allows family members to play games together from afar.
- Email: While less personal, email helps people stay connected too. Families can share photos, videos, recipes, updates on important appointments, and children and grandchildren’s activity schedules.
- Social media: Platforms like Facebook have become fairly contentious in recent years, but they don’t have to be. If you don’t like the politics and gossip in your News Feed, set up a private group. You can limit membership to anyone you want. That allows you to share photos, videos, and updates without Facebook’s infamous drama.
Consider a Senior Living Community
This spring’s coronavirus quarantine forced many families to remain apart for an extended period of time. For many adult children, having a parent feel isolated and alone was one of the most difficult parts.
One way to help an older loved one feel connected to the world is by moving to a senior living community. These thoughtfully designed communities offer a range of social and wellness activities throughout the day. Residents also have informal opportunities to visit neighbors daily.
Call the Five Star Senior Living community nearest you to learn more!