"Before the pandemic a quarter of older adults living at home are considered to be socially isolated, and 43 percent of them report feeling lonely," reports New York University.
COVID-19 has made seniors vulnerable to another life-threatening health risk: loneliness. According to an article in the journal Global Health Research and Policy “The outbreak of COVID-19 will have a long-term and profound impact on older adults’ health and well-being.”
Since seniors over the age of 80 are nearly 200 times more likely to die from COVID-19 complications, and the fact that one third of all COVID-19 deaths are happening in nursing homes, the first response to protect the elderly was to isolate them.
But senior care communities and organizations have found creative solutions to connect the elderly with their loved ones and provide social interactions with new people, while still adhering to safety guidelines. Here are five of the key ways senior care is innovating.
5 Ways Senior Care Is Fighting Loneliness
1. Visitation Booths
Morning Pointe Senior Living reintroduced face-to-face visitation at its 35 campuses via a Plexiglas “visitation booth.”
2. Outdoor Visitation
West Haven assisted living in Orland, California has opened to "outdoor visitations,"where loved ones can visit wearing a face mask, at least six feet apart outside.
3. Senior Pen Pals
Victorian Senior Care facilities launched a senior pen pal program that went viral! Anyone can send messages to their facilities to brighten the spirits of their senior community!
4. Letters Against Isolation
This is an elderly companion organization that will connect you to senior living communities that need a social boost. Volunteers can write letters about anything.
5. Call a Senior
According to Vox, multiple senior companionship groups like the "Friendship Line in San Francisco, Senior Loneliness Line in Oregon, Maryland’s Senior Call Check, and the Center for Creative Living’s outreach program" exist to give seniors an interpersonal connection.
How Do You Connect with Seniors?
Even though these are challenging times, it's refreshing to see personal care assistants, nursing homes and the senior care industry look to creative solutions for improving the quality of care for seniors.
Do you have ideas that would enhance senior mental health and well-being? Get a free copy of our 2020 Ultimate Guide to Home Care Franchising.