In today’s fast-paced world, families and friends are sometimes separated by great distances. This can make it tough to regularly visit senior loved ones in person. Yet staying connected is an essential part of successful aging. Here’s why.
Older adults who are isolated, experience higher incidences of health problems than peers who are actively engaged with their family and community. A few of the more common medical issues linked to isolation for seniors includes depression, obesity, diabetes, and heart disease.
Even more startling is the research on early mortality—socially isolated seniors are 26% more likely to experience early death. Taking steps to stay connected to the older adults in your family, and helping them to find ways to stay engaged in their community is essential.
Fortunately, technology makes this easier than ever to do.
Technology to Connect with Senior Loved Ones
- Smart phone: Don’t believe the outdated idea that seniors can’t master smart phone technology. According to the Pew Research Center, four out of ten seniors now own a smart phone. This is double the number who owned them in 2013. In addition to making it easier to keep in touch, seniors can also take advantage of features, like texting and video chat apps, that enable them to keep in touch wherever they are.
- Smart watch: Investing in a smart watch is another way to stay connected. Seniors can monitor their activity level, as well as their heart rate and blood pressure. Some smart watches are programmed with GPS tracking or a tracking app, which allows the device to detect the location of a user. Although reassuring, if there are concerns about the safety of a loved one, it might be time to consider senior living options.
- Video chat: While phone calls are nice, video chat platforms let a senior speak to their loved ones “in person.” This promotes connection, but also enables an adult child or caregiver to assess their older family member’s appearance and look for changes. Flushed cheeks, obvious signs of weight loss or gain, and disheveled appearance are just a few. Skype, WhatsApp, and Viber are a few to explore. Facetime is another.
- Email: Although this is a less personal method of connecting, it does help a senior loved one know you are thinking of them. For example, an adult child can send pictures of the grandkid’s soccer or baseball game along with detailed highlights of the event.
- Social media: Don’t let the political negativity found on social media keep you from connecting through a platform like Facebook. It’s an easy platform to master, and can help you connect with family members every day. You can share photos and videos with one another, and set up private groups limited to only those you invite.
Senior Living Communities Promote Socialization
One more way to stay connected or help an older loved one to do the same is by relocating to a senior living community. These communities offer a range of social and wellness activities where residents can build friendships with neighbors who have similar life experiences or interests. Team members are also available to provide technology support so seniors can stay in touch with those loved ones who live far away.
If you are interested in a retirement community in California or Nevada, we encourage you to consider Clearwater Living. Our Empowered Living® program offers purposeful connections that are essential to both health and wellness. Call a Clearwater community to learn more and schedule a private virtual tour!