According to new research published in the International Psychogeriatrics, the challenge of loneliness is a specific concern to seniors in their late 80s.
Causes of loneliness are varied, but declining mobility is a common culprit. Visiting family and friends can become physically challenging. Limited opportunities for outings and social experiences often lead to increased loneliness.
One solution is the use of technology. Cell phones and computers can allow seniors to socialize with family and friends from the comfort of home. Video calls and texting can help seniors connect with grandchildren. Developing new interests or playing interactive games online can also provide a healthy outlet.
“Today’s technologies have a lot to offer older adults, if they understand how to use the tools in safe and smart ways,” says Kathy Greenlee, Assistant Secretary for Aging, US Department of Health and Human Services.
Although seniors didn’t grow up surrounded by gadgets—cell phones, computers—it’s never too late to learn. To help seniors develop these new skills, many libraries offer programs that explain and introduce the basics of technology. Printable guides, online tutorials or family members can also help seniors navigate the digital terrain.