Social Isolation and Loneliness: Page 2 | 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

Barriers to Living Independently: EVC Explorers Discuss

The Explorers are asked to think of what could get in the way of staying independent.



Jay Wants to Find New Friends

Explorer Jay explains that at his age he has lost many of his close friends who are men, and he is seeking advice on how to find ways to make like-minded friends regardless of age.



How these Explorers Stay in Touch with Family & Friends

Explorer Anna is wanting to know the services or devices that people use to stay connected with friends or family and assure their safety.



Lacking a Reason to Get Up in the Morning

An explorer wonders how to respond to her 81-year old mother who is inactive in her retirement years, and appears to feel a loss of purpose.



Video Calling Discussed @ SF Village

Explorer Steve reports that he uses FaceTime to visit with his sister, who then uses it to show him something that has broken so he can explain to her how to fix it.



Family Neighborhood vs Planned Adult Community?

Explorer Deborah starts the discussion with a question about a planned adult community near Santa Rosa, California. Members talk about the pluses and minuses of a planned community vs a family neighborhood.



Staying involved with children: moving, and "virtual" options

Pluses and minuses of moving near children, or staying in touch virtually.



Non-age segregated living option: explorers discuss

Explorer Mary tells the group that she would like to see a retirement living option in a mixed-use setting including younger people and families with children.



Buddy System: Works for this Explorer

Explorer Ellen relates the 'buddy system' that she and a neighbor in the building to check daily on one another's well being. It works well for her.



Wish I had more contact with family: what to do?

Explorer Mary speaks of her desire to be in closer touch with her brother's family who live in the region, but who seem distant because of their busy lives and the travel time to visit. Explorers had several suggested "solutions", including some that are technology-related.



The Challenge of Asking for Help

Explorers discuss the challenge of asking for help, and the balance between volunteer help and paid services.



Ideas for maintaining social connections as one ages

This Longevity Explorers' discussion of the importance of social interaction in later years turns on ways to build and maintain connections later in life.



Multi Generational Living: Exploring the Benefits and Challenges

Explorer Steve tells the group about his experience growing up in a culture where grandparents were routinely present with their grandchildren, and the enrichment of all their lives as a result.



Housing and Socialization

Explorer Denise starts off with an enthusiastic description of what she has done to prepare for socialization and living arrangements in the years to come. Other members agree that living settings that promote community connections are healthy and contribute to general well being of older adults.



Social Interaction discussion @ EVC

Circle members discuss how they find ways to engage socially, and the ease of doing so while living in a communal retirement environment. Still, some are seeking ways to find or form affinity groups to enjoy common interests in activities or lifestyles.



Socialization and Interest Groups

The Saratoga Longevity Explorers reflected on the importance of social interaction and the ease with which residents of their retirement community can form and join interest groups.



Can Tech Reduce Social Isolation?

Members agreed that social isolation is a distinct hazard of aging in place, especially alone. And even with a caregiver, broader social stimulation is an essential element of overall health and well-being. Is tech the answer?



How Can I Meet Other People Like Me?

Member Sylvia starts the discussion on ways to stay socially connected later in life. For those not seeking dating opportunities, there are several resources for finding affinity groups, associations, and activity-based clubs. These are all the more necessary, as we are reminded by another member, due to the loosening of family and community ties from increased relocation and less face-to-face communication.



Living arrangements to reduce isolation

Members start by discussing various cohousing and shared living arrangements to create community in their lives, then explore the role of technology in preventing isolation.



Explorers discuss Stitch

Explorer Bruce shared his knowledge of a website named Stitch where a mature person can find others with like interests, whether dating, hiking, cultural activities, cooking, travel, or other affinities.



Social Isolation Circle Discussion- July 2014

We held a 30 minute HaveYourSay circle at our July Aging in Place Meet-up. I've participated in HYS circles about this topic before, and each time I get some new insight. Here are some salient points from this circle.



Father lost independence because he could no longer drive

My father did not have the strength or cognitive ability to drive a car safely. Driving a scooter provided some independence, but he was ultimately prevented from driving it.



Giving up driving leads to social isolation

Due to safety concerns, people who have a decline in night vision begin to lose connections with friends and interest groups because they no longer feel safe driving after dark. For personal or economic reasons, they resist becoming transport dependent – hence choosing to stay home alone.



"Social Secretary" passed away. How to avoid social isolation?

My father became very socially isolated after my mother passed away, even though he lived in a retirement community and was surrounded by others of his age. Because my mother had always been the "social secretary", it seemed as if he lacked the skills to develop a social life in her absence....



Hearing Loss increases Social Isolation

As I got older my hearing declined quite a bit. I can still hear well in certain settings, but have trouble hearing in noisy surroundings, and some other situations.

Despite pretty sophisticated hearing aids etc, I find this problem leads to a degree of social isolation as even when I am...



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):