Social isolation, elderly and health

Social isolation and loneliness is one of the biggest issues in elderly care. Visits to the doctor are often made not because of physical illness but in search of human contact. The ATA (emergency care organization in Amsterdam) sees that many alarm calls they receive are not because somebody is in immediate need but because people are in search of human contact.

In the Health-Lab project research is done on the use of technology (e.g. social media) in healthcare. Like connecting elderly people to their family with the use of iPads by using Skype but also (social) games like WordFeud. People over 65 of age are the fastest growing group of social media users of all age groups. And it is easy to see there is a connection between the social in social media and the potential to battle loneliness.
This morning I saw an article in the newspaper Volkskrant on loneliness and social media. In a research done in Amsterdam it turned out that in 2006 11% of young people called themselves lonely and in 2011 1%. The hypothesis is that social media play an important role in the decrease of loneliness. This also shows there is tremendous opportunity for the use of social media to decrease loneliness for elderly.
A blog by Martijn Kriens