The global coronavirus pandemic has pushed most of us into our homes, making connecting with others a bit more difficult than it was just a few months ago. For older adults who are living at home, this time can feel especially isolating. Fortunately, technology offers plenty of ways to combat loneliness. You just have to know where to look and what to download.
Dangers of Isolation and Loneliness
Right now, the safest thing for all of us to do is to practice social distancing. Some states are also encouraging residents to shelter in place, leaving their homes only for exercise and essential travel. However, even though it is the safest thing to do, isolation can get lonely awfully fast.
Older adults are especially vulnerable to the dangers of social isolation, even before the COVID-19 pandemic arrived. Research from the National Institute on Aging has demonstrated that socially isolated seniors are at a higher risk for conditions like anxiety, depression, cognitive decline, high blood pressure, and heart disease.
The good news? Though you may be at home alone or with a partner, you don’t have to be socially isolated. You can continue to connect with your friends and loved ones via phone calls, text messages, video chats, and online games. Here are a few of our favorite online games you can use to play with friends, family, and strangers that will keep your mind sharp.
Most adult children understand the value of spending time with their senior parents. Finding something to do, however, can be a major barrier. You may be overwhelmed by the responsibilities of professional life and child rearing. Adding in time with your parent may feel like just one more item to cross off a to-do list, particularly if you're doing something you don’t enjoy. But these hobbies for seniors and adult children are fun for everyone, offer valuable quality time, and can help stimulate your loved one’s mind while encouraging them to be more active. This means better health for your loved one and a deeper relationship for you both.
For many Americans, the transition to retirement offers a chance to imbibe as much information as possible. Yet reading tends to decline as people age. Data from the Pew Research Center found that in 2015, 69 percent of seniors reported having read at least one book in the past year, compared to 80 percent of people ages 18-29 years old. Finding the right book can be a challenge, especially for seniors who have not read in a while. Check out our roundup of the best books for seniors.
Many seniors relish the chance to downsize, embrace minimalism and enjoy a smaller, tidier home in assisted living. Of course, there’s a reason that most of us spend our lives accumulating miscellaneous stuff. Everyone develops emotional attachments to their possessions, and the way you choose to decorate your home and adorn your furniture is a reflection of who you are, what you enjoy, and even what you believe. You don’t have to abandon these personal touches when you transition to assisted living. Here are some great ideas for making your new space uniquely yours.
What does your ideal retirement look like? A chance to reflect on the life you’ve built? New adventures? Mastering new skills? Or perhaps you’re hoping for a little romance. Whether it’s your first shot at love or your 50th, a blossoming romance in your senior years can be uniquely sweet. You’ll have more time to spend with your beloved, and can benefit from a lifetime of romantic wins and losses. For seniors who want a life partner or just a chance to date, senior living communities offer plenty of chances to find someone.
Every year, 1 in 4 seniors over 65 falls. A senior seeks emergency room treatment for a fall every 11 seconds. Falls are the leading cause of injury among older adults, and can compromise a senior’s independence and quality of life by leaving them in immense pain. Falls may even increase the risk of death.
The senior population is booming, with more than 10,000 people turning 65 every day. Baby boomers have shaped history and changed the world, and now they’re changing what it means to grow older. Fifty-two percent of seniors reported in one survey that they are active four or more days per week.
Gifts for seniors present a unique challenge. Many seniors already have the things they want or need. Those who have lived in the same home for years may be concerned about clutter, and seniors who have transitioned to senior living may relish their tidy new minimalist existence.