Thanks to technology, older adults have more opportunities than ever before to remain engaged and social, especially for those who are homebound, frail, or simply lacking transportation. These social connections help seniors avoid isolation, stave off depression and keep their minds more active and healthy. Research has proven that social contact is beneficial to health, reduces risk of disability, depression and pain and even protects the brain from mental decline. And some studies have even shown that isolation can double the risk of an early death. Our brains are wired for socialization, when socialization is lacking, it leads to stress, which in turn leads to a myriad of health problems such as an increased risk of cardiovascular disease, obesity and mental illness.
So how can you help your senior loved ones stay social? Try these suggestions, courtesy of Visiting Angels:
- Social Media: The 74-plus demographic is the fastest growing demographic among social networks, according to the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project. Social media gives older adults and their families a convenient way to check in regularly, stimulating more frequent conversations between the generations and creating peace of mind for everyone.
- Wii: Wii games provide seniors with a fun and active way to stay social. Seniors who may normally feel reluctant to get involved in activities are now engaging with others through Wii games. It’s also a great intergenerational activity for families.
- Online Dating for Seniors: Seniors are the fastest growing group of subscribers for online dating, with one service reporting an 89% growth rate over the last five years of older adults using their service. Senior dating sites provide older adults with a much wider net to find others with similar interests.
- Skype: Skype has proven to be an incredible tool for older adults, allowing online video conversations with loved ones at a distance. It’s also a great way for a family to include a homebound older adult in a celebration or a vacation.
- Home Care: For seniors who need transportation, or who could benefit from a little encouragement to socialize, home care is a great solution. An in-home caregiver can encourage attendance and serve as a personal escort to social outings, plays, concerts, and sporting events, religious services and church activities. A caregiver can also plan and schedule visits with friends and neighbors as well as play interactive games with the older adult. In addition, a home care agency can provide transportation to an adult day facility for further interaction with other older adults.
Many older adults are still unfamiliar with all that technology has to offer. Home care agencies, such as Visiting Angels, can introduce seniors to the many opportunities that technology presents to help them remain social and engaged. For further information on how our senior care in California can help your senior loved ones remain social, contact Visiting Angels at 800-969-0499.