In a world where communication is as easy as picking up the phone or sending a message on social media, research has shown us that as a whole, we are one of the loneliest societies ever to have existed. With this in mind, it has to be said that the elderly feels the sting of loneliness more so than any other age group or generation.
Senior citizens are essentially lonely because they are alone. They are placed into housing facilities, retirement homes, which can be completely disorienting experiences. Statistics have shown that almost 20% of senior citizens live alone, and 43% of these admit to feeling the sting of loneliness on a regular basis. Loneliness can lead to conditions and syndromes such as depression and dementia, due to a lack of cognitive stimulation and meaningful relationships. Loneliness is contagious and often leads to people acting in a way that makes people want to avoid them and spend little time with them, and so the vicious cycle continues. As a family member or friend, it’s your responsibility to make time for your loved ones and ensure that they are happy and healthy both in mind and body. It’s understandable that some people cannot see their loved ones on a daily basis, and this is where technology comes into play…
Technology is giving a helping hand
Technology has a huge potential to combat loneliness, and this doesn’t mean sitting your loved one in front of the television to imitate companionship. If user-friendly devices are introduced into their everyday lives, they can effectively connect older people with friends and family who live far away from them. Many elderly people enjoy using the internet and this will continue to increase as the years pass by. Here are some of the best devices that are combatting loneliness amongst the elderly:
The GrandCare System
The GrandCare system is a fully-featured, residential home system that supports the user in everyday life. This system combats loneliness for the user through the Care Portal feature, where caregivers, friends and family can communicate with ease and can also access important information, such as any unusual movements their loved one makes and their medication consumption habits. This system provides the individual with the social communications, instructions, medication prompts and ability to communicate with friends and loved ones at the click of a button and most importantly, it is completely user friendly and doesn’t require computer skills. Some devices can be quite intimidating and difficult to navigate, which can be off-putting to the user.
Paro is a robot seal which was created by Japanese engineers. This idea is the foundation of Paro, and the sensory interaction can provoke cognitive stimulation and provide the same comfort as a pet, without the maintenance and upkeep. This technology is based on the premise of animal therapy and the benefits it can have. This seal is so sophisticated that it is responsive to actions such as name calling, commands, touch and light/dark. It’s believed that animals like cats and dogs possess the right qualities to be beneficial in a stressful situation – touching and feeling the presence of an animal can have a calming influence on the user.