Social Isolation and Loneliness:  Older Adult Perspectives

The Impact Theme series: Longevity Explorers Discuss.

We all know Social Isolation is an especially large and important challenge of aging. In this series of discussions among older adults, we explore things like:

  • Can different living arrangements help?
  • How do these older adults like tools like Skype and Facetime, and how best can we teach these tools?
  • What is the root cause of social isolation in the case of various specific individuals?
  • Why is it hard to meet people and what can you do about it?


Hear what Older Adults Think: Social Isolation and Loneliness

Can Photo Sharing Stimulate Deeper Interactions?

By: tel-editors

Our explorers are discussing photo sharing as a tool for deeper engagement with family living far away. Join the discussion. Share your insights in the comments.

Of course, we all know about sharing photos and videos on Social Media, and "Likes". But, what if your aging... Read More. Add your Opinions


Best Video Call Technology

By: tel-editors

Now that we are all "sheltering in place", finding ways to interact virtually with people from our homes has rocketed up people's priority list.

We have had quite a few emails now from people wanting to know the best way to have video calls with their family and friends. Here are some... Read More. Add your Opinions


The Loneliness of Old Age

Discussion of Social Isolation and Loneliness by the Longevity Explorers @ Avenidas



LE AI Topics Sept 2022

Longevity Explorers prioritize and select topics for discussion from a list of problems of getting older. And discuss the problem area: "Emotional Well Being".



More Than Just Showing Photos

The enjoyment of photo-sharing among friends and family is enhanced by the back-and-forth communication that is possible on some platforms.



Photos: Share and Connect

'Photo Sharing as a Tool for Social Engagement' is the topic under discussion in the San Francisco Explorer group. 



Let's Talk: Coping with Life in the Pandemic

On September 16, 2020, members of the Providence Circle met for a structured discussion of the challenges we face in the special circumstances of the coronavirus pandemic.  One of our members, Elissa Arffa, led the discussion.  After brief introductory remarks, we used Zoom "break-out rooms" to...



Want Joint Activity with Distant Relative

Your parent or relative lives far from you, or for whatever reason in person visits are not realistic.

You have a way to talk with them via video already. But now you want something you can actually DO together "virtually".



Family Video Call: Too Cramped

When my whole family is here, and we want to have an Alexa call with my Aunt who is now in the nursing home, it's rather cramped sitting around my phone or even my Echo Show



Virtual Visits @ Passavant

By: Passavant Explorers

Lutheran SeniorLife, like other senior living communities, needed to quarantine to protect our residents during the COVID pandemic. We needed to develop more creative strategies for connecting our residents and their loved ones. Here is what we did.

Window visits became popular and... Read More. Add your Opinions


Gadgets That Help During Covid: Virtual Circle

This virtual Longevity Explorers' circle meeting includes members from sixteen states and features discussions inspired by common experiences living under the Covid 'stay at home' orders. The topic: gadgets that help during COVID.



Video Conference Apps: Susan Reports

Susan Reports that her favorite apps are those used for videoconferencing.



Will an Echo Show 8 solve my problem?

By: Sent by email

I desperately need help finding a solution to helping out a 93 yr old in a AL / Nursing home. 

  •  I was wondering if anyone can tell me if this device (Echo Show 8) can work with an older, fainter voice ?
  •  Can Alexa pick up the commands ?
  • Do you have
  • ... Read More. Add your Opinions


Explorer Uses Song to Overcome Social Distancing

SF Explorer Lynn explains how she and her neighbors use music to lift their spirits during self-isolation.



Staying in Touch: Parents in Lockdown

By: tel-editors

It's a pretty common scenario at present. Your elderly parent, who lives at home — or in a nice senior living facility — is under "lockdown" for the foreseeable future. You can't visit. They are not super tech-savvy and don't regularly use Facetime, or Skype, or Zoom. And you are wondering what... Read More. Add your Opinions


Explorer Learnings During Social Distancing

SF Explorers discuss their experiences with social distancing during the Covid-19 virus epidemic.



How Can I Keep My World from Closing In as I Age?

SF Longevity Explorers respond to the question "What can I do to prevent my world from shrinking around me with age"?

Marty's immediate response is to get a computer. She says that it gives her the ability to see church services, visit vacation sites and archaeological digs, to visit with...



Brainstorming: Better, More Frequent Connections to Friends

This is a brainstorming exercise between a group of Longevity Explorers and a group of students participating in the 2018 Stanford Longevity Design Competition.

We are brainstorming a "product to make connecting with friends more likely and more satisfactory".




Loneliness & Isolation, Providence

Because of a technical problem, the recording of this meeting is not available. Following the lead of other Longevity Explorer Circles, the Providence group focused on the topic of “Loneliness and Social Isolation” at their December meeting.

Our circle divided into small groups of three...



Want Some Company? Stitch a Group Together.

Explorer AnnieScott tells the group about, an app for meeting people over 50 who are interested in joining activities or events with others.



Social Isolation in Age: Challenges and Solutions

What is isolation? Is it a choice, a mindset or just a lack of options? For some it's something in the future, not now, but more associated with future incapacitation. Another view is from a member who likes to be alone with friends checking  in – so he may be alone, but he is not lonely....



Connecting, Companionship, Avoiding Loneliness

Intergenerational discussion about connectedness and loneliness.



How Can We Reduce Isolation and Loneliness in Age?

The Longevity Explorer group discusses some of the causes and the antidotes to loneliness and isolation in older adults, whether living at home or in a community setting.

Causes discussed include poor health, hearing loss, lack of purpose, and depression.

Possible solutions...



Loneliness and Social Isolation: SFV

The group is asked for their observations and comments about isolation and loneliness in later life. Hearing loss is discussed as an isolating condition. Problems with vision, mobility and depression are mentioned as others which limit human contact and reinforce isolation.




Housing Solutions to Social Isolation

The type of housing we occupy can greatly affect not only our physical but also our mental wellbeing.

Discussion about different housing options was spirited and informed. Many participants in this Longevity Circle are members of the Avenidas Village that provides resources for people who...



About the Impact Theme Series

Our Longevity Explorers (hundreds of older adults with ages ranging from 60-95 years old) meet regularly to discuss topics at the intersection of aging and technology.

Among the many topics we discuss in these meetings, we have been exploring some specific themes which we think are going to be very important for older adults in the future, and which in our opinion are ripe for innovation. These make up our Impact Themes, and Social Isolation and Loneliness is one of these themes.

In these discussions:

  • We share how we do things today;
  • We explore and critique existing products;
  • We talk about challenges we have that we wish products could solve; and
  • We dream up product concepts we wish someone like you would develop.

If you are developing products or services for older adults in the category of Social Isolation and Loneliness, listen to the Longevity Explorer discussions on this page to get insights about how to develop better products and services for older adults.

More Explorer Discussions


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Topics (broader coverage of this theme):