An AARP survey in 2019 found that one in three adults over 50 said they lack regular companionship. 41% of those surveyed report feeling socially isolated. Keep in mind, this was before CO-VID 19.
It’s well documented that social isolation and loneliness is a risk factor in older adults. Issues that may seem unrelated but have been linked include high blood pressure, heart disease, obesity, and even a weakened immune system. Anxiety, depression and even cognitive decline have also been linked according to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ National Institute on Aging.
Got the picture?
Contact is essential. Contact can help you have a stronger immune system, stay healthier and live longer to enjoy your family.
So, no more fussing or complaining about how hard it is to connect. It’s time to embrace the challenge and use all the means we have to stay in close touch with our loved ones.
Here are the 7 best products to stay connected. And as promised, let’s start with the easy ones first.
If you’ve got a landline, use it. A good old-fashioned phone call works wonders. You already know how to use it, and you know whom you want to call.
One of the best things to do is to arrange a schedule. Talk to your friends and family to set up a call schedule that works for everyone. Knowing that you’ll be talking on Wednesday and Friday at 4pm can provide a sense of comfort and security for the week.
Mail is still a great way to stay in touch. It’s helpful to send and receive letters, as a way to communicate with loved ones.
Many people find that writing longhand invokes a different level of contact. Sometimes it’s easier to speak about emotions, memories or intimate details in the privacy and confidentiality of a letter.
If you are concerned about the possibility of exposing loved ones to COVID-19 via the mail, this is unlikely. The CDC has stated that the virus can survive for a short period on some surfaces, but asserts: “it is unlikely to be spread form products or packaging that are shipped over a period of days or weeks at ambient temperatures.”
For extra care, you may want to use adhesive backed stamps, and/or use a sponge to moisten envelope closures and stamps.
In looking at the news over the last weeks, you’ve most likely seen photos of window visits. Many families are visiting senior family members through windows of their homes or facilities. With the help of a phone or hand-made signs, these personal visits are heartwarming.
Some families have combined social distancing with in-person visits. Examples include sitting at a safe distance on a porch; having adults watch as children create chalk drawings on the sidewalk; and sharing lemonade while sitting at a safe distance on the lawn.
Now, let’s move on to smart technology options to stay connected.
With many ways to stay connected with video calls, the biggest question can be: which one? Many of the tools you may be familiar with. Check with your family and start with the simplest one that your family is using.
FaceTime video calling is standard with iPhones. It’s already loaded, so getting started is simple. Skype and Zoom offer free video conferencing on a variety of services. Both are easy to use, and will quickly become your go-to tool. WhatsApp is a free video-calling app that works on Androids or iOS.
You don’t have to use them all. Keep it simple. Pick one. Get started. Make a video call. You’ll likely find that once you get started, it becomes easy and natural.
A GrandPad is a simplified tablet with large text and buttons. No squinting. No mistakes. It’s easy and fast to learn your way around. Also important are the security features, so you shouldn’t worry about being contacted by spammers.
GrandPad tablet is a simple tablet with intuitive interfaces. The site offers straightforward support for voice and video calling, photos and camera, listening to music and sending emails and messages.
With the tablet, you’ve got an easy way to use apps and stay connected with your family.
If you’re going stir crazy and want some distraction, why not take a trip to an online museum? You can do this with your family for free. The Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Louvre in Paris offer free virtual tours.
Surprise your family—share the thrill of exploring art and beauty together.
GrandCare is a simple one-touch screen that goes into your residence. It allows you to stay connected with your family with video chats, photo/video sharing, music, messaging and more. Additionally, it can be used to update family or caregivers if a health concern is detected.
The #1 Key Idea: Stay Connected!
Whether you prefer low tech, high-tech or a combination, the choices are many.
Staying connected is good for your health, your happiness and living a fulfilling life. Even with social distancing, it’s possible to stay in touch and participate in the lives of your loved ones. Where would you like to start?