Many of us have felt cabin fever from stay-at-home orders the past few months due to the new coronavirus pandemic. Even as businesses start to reopen, seniors are recommended to shelter in place to reduce their risk of getting the virus. Nursing homes hit hard by virus outbreaks continue to not allow visitors.
All of these circumstances put seniors at a higher risk for loneliness. Older adults are already more likely to suffer from loneliness; 43% feel lonely on a regular basis, according to the U.S. Health Services & Resource Administration.
You’ve likely heard or tried yourself some specific ways to stay in touch with the seniors in your life who are alone, perhaps through phone calls, sending gifts, or doing video chats. However, some businesses and organizations are trying creative ways to help seniors feel more connected and less isolated. Perhaps one of these ideas can benefit seniors you care for and love.
- A digital companion for older adults. The company Intuition Robotics has ongoing beta tests with seniors for a digital companion named ElliQ. One example: Deanna Dezern of Tamarack, Florida, has used ElliQ since last fall and relies on ElliQ to keep her entertained with news, music, poetry, and more. “ElliQ also adapts to the situation, knowing when to be funny, when to suggest an activity, or when to call Deanna’s family for a catch-up call,” according to a press release from Intuition Robotics. Find out more about ElliQ at the link here.
- Robotic pets. In late April, Florida’s Department of Elder Affairs delivered more than 375 therapeutic robotic pets to seniors who are socially isolated and have Alzheimer’s disease and related dementia. The pets are known to help improve mood and quality of life while also lowering caregiver stress. The robotic pets have similar benefits as having traditional pets without the care that’s involved. The robotic cats and dogs respond to motion, touch, and sound. The robotic pets delivered by the Department of Elder Affairs were made by the company Ageless Innovations.
- A request for letters for seniors. A senior facility in Ohio is requesting people to send letters to share love and encouragement with its residents. They call it a “Send a Smile” letter campaign that focuses on cheering up residents and fighting anxiety and loneliness. See the link here to find out more about the campaign and where you can send a letter.
- A friendly voice on the other end of the line with the Senior Friendship Centers hotline. The Senior Friendship Centers of Sarasota has a program to connect volunteers with seniors who want to hear from someone on a daily or weekly basis to say hello. Although the program is not specific to the coronavirus, it’s something that can be used more often during this time of more frequent isolation. Discover more about the hotline in Secure Aging’s recent article.
One final note: If you have a senior who must shelter in place and you want to help them combat loneliness, encourage them to keep a routine and pursue hobbies to keep active. This article from Very Well Mind has several specific suggestions to help.
Call Secure Aging to Find Out How We Can Help Seniors With Care Management
At Secure Aging in Bradenton, we transform the weight of the world into a sigh of relief for our senior clients and their concerned family members. The mission of Secure Aging is to protect and preserve our client’s independence and dignity through careful and thoughtful financial and care management. As our clients’ age, it is their desire to remain independent and age with dignity. Our services protect our clients from talented con artists looking to exploit and deplete the financial resources of our vulnerable seniors. Secure Aging helps families in Manatee County and Sarasota County and in and around the communities of Anna Maria, Bradenton, Bradenton Beach, Ellenton, Holmes Beach, Lakewood Ranch, Longboat Key, Myakka City, Palmetto, Parrish, and Sarasota. Call us at 941-761-9338, or visit us online at www.secureaging.com.