Tuesday, July 4, 2017
HELPING INDIVIDUALS WHO LIVE ALONE AND ARE ISOLATED
Most of us know a person who could use some human contact. Paying a visit, calling them, cooking a meal or giving them a ride are examples of ways you can make that connection. This should be year-round, not just onetime. As they get older, more Americans are becoming isolated. Individuals living alone, studies have shown, is the fastest-growing type of household. Those over 50 are increasingly having no one to talk to about important matters. About 1 in 5 individuals are living in or at risk of isolation. This is equivalent to smoking 15 cigarettes a day. Older isolated people are at a greater risk for depression, dementia, emergency room visits and elder abuse. Also, they have a much higher rate of mortality from breast cancer, heart disease, high blood pressure and other chronic diseases. Anyone can end up suffering from social isolation through life-changing events by losing a spouse or a job, having to give up your license or developing a chronic illness or disability. This also affects taking on caregiving responsibilities. There are tips about helping these individuals, see AARP Foundation's new Connect2Affect site at connect2affect.org. Another way to help is to teach someone to use technology. Through technology, they can reach out to others. Millions feel left out because they are not comfortable with tech. In addition, the worry about the cost, or they feel they can't catch up because they have fallen so far behind. This is why AARP has free TEK worships across the country. Step-by-step lessons in these workshops are designed to help Americans 50 and older to use technology to say connected. In 40 cities, more than 20,000 adults have completed these workshops. Young people helped to provided some of the training. Visit aarp.org/academy for free help on using technology. This includes smartphones and tablets.