The holidays are intended as a time of celebration and togetherness as families come together at the end of the year. But for seniors living in nursing homes or those whose families are far away, the juxtaposition of holiday expectations against their reality can cause severe loneliness to set in around Christmas.
According to Dr. Kerry Burnight, an esteemed professor of Geriatric Medicine and Gerontology, “loneliness among older adults is a silent epidemic.” Social bonds with family members and friends give seniors plenty to look forward to in all seasons of the year, but for those who unfortunately have no visits on the horizon that feeling of isolation intensifies during the winter holidays.
This can spell trouble for seniors who live on their own – according to the B.C. Care Providers Association, there exists a higher risk of mortality for individuals over 52 who suffer from loneliness and social isolation. Many seniors who still live at home can feel just as isolated as those that live in senior homes.
Seniors often relocate to smaller apartments that require less upkeep later in life, and many apartment complexes do not actively foster a strong sense of community. Smiling at your neighbor is one thing, but stopping in during the holidays and having dinner with them is another.
If you have a parent or grandparent who resides in a nursing home or senior care center, the most practical step to take is visiting them for at least one hour every week if they live in your city. An hour of interaction with people they love greatly boosts anyone’s emotional and psychological wellbeing.
Doing your part to reach out to and express your love for the seniors in your life will greatly impact their overall health. When loneliness sets in, seniors risk an increase in blood pressure and a loss of appetite, which can lead to malnutrition and worsen diseases like arthritis or osteoporosis. Other health risks like depression can heighten exponentially if you don’t take the time to be with the seniors in your family.
Most families in modern America are spread out – children have moved to various cities to pursue their careers and interests. If you have to board a plane to visit your loved ones, taking the time and purchasing expensive plane tickets may be less feasible. When geographical distance makes it difficult for you to combat your loved one’s senior loneliness, you can count on technology to bridge that gap.
Many seniors do not own traditional tablet devices or smartphones, as the small font can prove tiresome and the devices are updated with new formats and operating systems constantly. But with the GrandPad, you can connect to your parent or grandparent in a matter of minutes and video chat effortlessly. The GrandPad is constantly connected to a strong LTE signal, and all they have to do is accept your call to see your loving, smiling face.
With the holidays approaching, now is the perfect time to invest in the gift that keeps on giving for seniors and their families – the GrandPad. As Dr. Burnight notes, “I love that GrandPad is combatting isolation and loneliness, it makes me excited to come to work every day.” With a GrandPad your loved one never has to experience the Christmas Blues again.