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Removing Loneliness from the Aging Process to Empower Seniors

Written by Leeza Gibbons

There is an epidemic among older Americans, a condition that impacts the well-being of our seniors every day – loneliness. With 11 million people 65 years and older living by themselves[1], this is an issue that needs greater awareness, as it affects elements of a senior’s life that span outside of just the feelings of separation and disconnection. In fact, isolated seniors have a 59 percent greater risk of mental and physical decline than those who are not lonely[2], and loneliness is linked to health issues ranging from impaired immune systems, high blood pressure, and depression[3].

Yet loneliness doesn’t have to be a necessary part of our aging journey. A recent study revealed that seniors are less likely to become lonely if they have fewer physical problems that interfere with their independence and ability to get out and about[4]. Social interaction is perhaps the most obvious solution to this epidemic. However, technology such as the Philips Lifeline’s medical alert service, allows seniors who live by themselves to embrace their independence knowing that quick access to help is always available and they are never truly alone. Technology like this can give seniors the confidence to stay connected to loved ones, travel and maintain their social circle by keeping aging adults close to resources that allow them to be safer.

Keeping my dad active

My dad lives alone in his home in South Carolina, while I am a thousand miles away in California. When my dad was diagnosed with heart disease, I was worried as a long-distance caregiver. I wanted to make sure he was able to get help if there was ever a medical issue, while still living independently and continuing to do the things he loves.

That is why we decided to give him a Philips Lifeline, so that dad could embrace his active lifestyle and be a contributing member of his community, and perhaps more importantly, feel empowered to do so with 24/7 access to help. And, we are so thankful that we did. When he suffered from a heart attack and couldn’t reach a phone to call for help, the push of his emergency response button provided him access to a Philips response associate to help dispatch emergency services that helped save his life. Since then, my dad has been able to live his life fully with the help of Philips Lifeline GoSafe mobile medical alert service[5]. GoSafe can help pinpoint a user’s location in a variety of situations – home or away, indoors or outdoors – and includes AutoAlert fall detection[6].  Whether it is going fishing or going out to dinner, my dad continues to be full of energy and maintains a busy social calendar. Sometimes dad may be alone, but he is never lonely. No senior should ever feel sadness.

Preventing loneliness

While the aging journey may have its challenges, it should not be feared. You can embrace your older years with confidence and continue to live your best life, like my dad has! With the reassurance of Philips Lifeline medical alert service, you or your loved one can continue to partake in favorite hobbies, remain connected to friends and family, and untouched by loneliness.

[1] United States Census Bureau (2010) 65+ in the United States 2010. Retrieved June 6, 2017, from https://www.census.gov/content/dam/Census/library/publications/2014/demo/p23-212.pdf

[2]AARP Foundation (2012) 7 Thing to Know About Isolation. Retrieved June 6, 2017, from  http://www.aarp.org/aarp-foundation/our-work/isolation/info-2012/7-facts-about-social-isolation.2.html

[3] Annals of Behavioral Medicine (2010) Loneliness Matters: A Theoretical and Empirical Review of Consequences and Mechanisms. Retrieved June 6, 2017, from https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12160-010-9210-8

[4] SAGE Journals (2017) Transitions in Loneliness among Older Adults. Retrieved June 6, 2017, from http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/0164027517698965

[5] With GoSafe, coverage outside the home is provided where AT&T wireless network coverage is available.

[6] AutoAlert does not detect 100% of falls. If able, users should always push their button when they need help. Button signal range may vary due to differing environmental factors.

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