What is the Big Picture?
In 2012 a research team from the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) analyzed data in the Health and Retirement Study, a nationally representative study by the National Institute on Aging conducted on 1,604 older adults between 2002 and 2008. They found a direct correlation between loneliness and an increased rate of death and functional decline.
Earlier this month, The National Senior Council (NSC) of Canada, began a cross-Canada series of round-table discussions with a variety of seniors’ organizations, health and service providers, researchers and practitioners to talk about seniors and social isolation.
So we know there is an issue, but what can we do as family and members of the community?
Whether they are family or not, if you know of a senior living alone in your neighborhood, why not introduce yourself and find out their situation? Maybe you have time to drive them to a local senior center once a week or perhaps you can pick up a few groceries for them when doing your own shopping. Even just stopping by for a chat every few days can make an enormous difference.
Have a Heart to Heart
Perhaps there is something holding your loved one back from socializing – maybe they are hard of hearing and are worried about not being able to participate or have something like a tremor they feel self-conscious about. Sit down and talk to them about what their concerns and fears are.
Consult a Physician
If you feel your loved one is suffering from depression and not just the “Holiday Blues,” be sure to check in with their doctor.
Pick Up the Phone
For family members living in other cities, a regular phone call can help lift their spirits. Make sure you also check in with your “team on the ground” there whether it is their caregiver from the homecare agency, friends, or extended family. Know who is checking in physically on your loved one and when so that everyone is in the care loop.
Let’s face it though, a lot people just don’t use the phone as much anymore, and for a senior whose only means of communication is the phone, this means they get less calls every year.
Maybe Claris Companion can help?
The Claris Companion is a computer designed specifically for seniors, so it makes the perfect gift for seniors.
Claris Companion helps by offering seniors multiple ways for busy family to easily communicate with them including email, text message, photo sharing, automated reminders, and now video chat.
The Claris Companion can really enhance the care of your loved one by keeping them connected after the phone call is over and after the visitor has left for the day. The grandkids who live in another city can send photos of school projects, the caregiver can send an encouraging email, adult children can get everyone around the computer and share a video call and the aging parent can easily enjoy them all with ease, no passwords to remember, no apps to navigate. If they’d like someone to call them, a touch of an onscreen button will send a text to that person, requesting a call.
So this holiday season, try Claris Companion for 30 days (or until Jan 3, 2014 whichever is longer) with no obligation and make it easy to stay connected long after the holidays are over.