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Visiting Angels Social Care Program

One of the most difficult aspects of aging is becoming distant from the ones you love. As our bodies slow down, so too does our ability to visit friends, connect with neighbors, and stay in close contact with people face-to-face. It has never been more important to care for the social needs of the elderly along with the physical needs. Visiting Angel’s Social Care Program is designed to take a holistic approach to social health by using technology and social media. This holistic approach entails care for the individual, both inside and outside of the home. Enabling your elderly family members to stay in constant contact with family and friends online has a multitude of benefits that may be right for them.

Effects of Social Isolation

The separation the elderly may experience during their twilight years is heartbreaking, especially during illness. Social isolation has led to the deterioration of health for millions of elderly patients across the country. 33% of people over 65 and 50% of people over the age of 85 live alone. While not all feel lonely, more and more individuals are feeling this way.

It isn’t simply loneliness. Even when family members do what they can to care for their elderly family members, social isolation and the constant risk of health problems can limit the quality of life for both the caregiver and elderly person.

Social isolation can lead to:

  1. Depression. Beyond simple sadness, depression is a mental issue that can take a toll on a person physically. Increased stress, lack of sleep, muscle atrophy, and decreased bone density can be signs that an elderly person has depression.
  2. Mental decline. A lack of constant social interaction has been proven to induce cognitive decline. An elderly person is more likely to suffer mental health issues and dementia without frequent social involvement.
  3. Mortality. Social interaction has been proven to be so important to an elderly individual that it is a possible factor in early mortality rates. This has been especially noted during the pandemic when many elderly individuals in retirement homes and health facilities have been permanently separated from family and friends.

The Many Ways to Stay Connected

Fortunately, there are ways for your elderly family member to stay in touch with you and your family. Our Social Care Program centers on the use of communication technology, including cell phones, e-mail, texts, Skype, and Facetime. With a combination of written words and screen-to-screen conversations, not only can you better stay connected to your mother, father, grandmother, or grandfather, it will improve their overall health and well-being.

We encourage the use of Facebook to help them communicate on a daily basis with friends as they share their experiences with those they love. Additionally, we can help teach the elderly how to shop online and how to use search engines to do personal research for different hobbies and interests.

Adopting a digital social life may not come so easily to older adults who have difficulties grasping new technology. However, recent studies have shown the following emotional and mental benefits digital tools can have on the elderly:

  • Surfing the internet can reduce depression in Seniors by 20 percent.*
  • A University of Arizona study finds seniors who use Facebook showed a 25 percent improvement in mental “updating” skills—essentially improving their working memory.
  • Another study shows seniors who visit social networking sites like Facebook have a positive emotional experience when measured by breathing rates, brain stimulation, and pupil dilation.**

  * Washington, D.C. based Phoenix Center

** Journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking

Take Advantage of the Social Care Program

If you worry one of your elderly family members may face social isolation as their lives change, consider choosing Visiting Angels. Our Social Care Program has been a tremendous help to those that would suffer from loneliness. Give us a call today and schedule an interview with one of our caregivers.