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Keeping Older People Socially Connected

There are many fun, low-cost, and even some free group activities older people can enjoy for every season. Here are a few ideas for healthy ways to continue socially interacting into one’s later years.

According to an Age Action report in January of 2020, 55% of 65–74-year-olds had never been on the internet, considerably higher than the EU average of 37%. This digital literacy gap began to close, however, as more and more older people began to access the internet over the course of the pandemic. The Irish figure now lies below average at 29% as of March 2022. Even among those who use it, however, studies show that roughly one-third aren’t confident when performing tasks online.

Many people worry that their older loved ones spend too much time alone and may be suffering from isolation. Here, the internet can be an invaluable resource. It can help our older communities stay socially connected in their lives. After all, studies show that older people are physically and mentally healthier when they maintain social connection and foster relationships.

For those trying to help the older people in their life stay connected, they can consider the following:

Teach them something new 

While many older people are now adept at using technology, some could use extra help getting set up. This goes for messaging apps, video-calling platforms, and other sources of online connection. Helping them learn to use new technology can be a fun bonding experience. It then pays off in continued contact with your loved one! Many stores like Apple even offer daytime classes to help older people become familiar with their new devices. Remember, the key here is patience. It takes time for anyone of any age to become confident with a new technology.

Recent studies have even found that greater technology use was associated with better self-rated health, fewer chronic conditions, higher subjective wellbeing and lower depression in previously isolated older people.

Involve others 

Group video chats have never been easier to set up, and there are free options that are great for small groups or paid options for larger gatherings of friends and families. Seeing each other’s faces and sharing stories is a great way to stay connected. 

Play together online 

Popular board games have gone virtual! Classics like Monopoly and Scrabble can be played online together. There are also a host of other sites with card games, trivia, and other fun activities to do together. Online games like Wordle have become increasingly popular since the pandemic. Sometimes, a game night is all it takes to make people feel closer.

While digital provides these new opportunities, sometimes you just can’t beat the old analog version!

Why not become pen pals?

The art of writing letters may be rare today, but everyone still loves to receive nice things in the post. Send letters with updates, drawings, photos, and other small mementos, and encourage the recipient to reply. Letters and cards will quickly become cherished memories that can be shared and revisited in times of separation.

And, of course, it obviously goes without saying to spend time in person when possible. While it may not always be possible, it’s great to see loved ones when time allows, and the situation permits. This can be especially important for older people with mobility issues that can keep them from doing the activities they love outside of the home or making the trip to visit loved ones themselves.

Comfort Keepers can also help.

For older loved ones that need a little extra help around the house, our carers can provide not only assistance with daily living, but companionship and conversation too. Carers can help facilitate calls and video chats with loved ones and are trained to keep older people safe and secure in their homes. Our goal is to see that clients have the means to find the joy and happiness in each day, regardless of age, acuity, or ability. This can be a great option to have to provide companionship during periods of illness or isolation.

You can book a consultation here:

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