As the population ages in the United States and around the world, social isolation of older adults, especially older adults who live alone, is a crucial challenge that requires attention. Community and social support programs are essential means to address this challenge. However, technology-based solutions should be considered to supplement or augment these methods to help ensure that older adults remain connected to their friends, family, and community.
The sizeable portion of older adults living alone is alarming given the harmful effects of social isolation – a reduction in social connectedness as measured by satisfaction derived from social ties – can have on the health of older people. Social isolation is associated with negative health effects including chronic health conditions, a weakened immune system, and depression and anxiety. Having services and supports in place to meet the needs of older adults living alone and experiencing the harmful effects of social isolation is vital.
By Ryan C. Thompson & Rowena Gomez, PhD (Palo Alto University) Improving physical health behaviors, such as eating healthy and exercise, is not the only way to protect older adults from stroke. In fact, psychological factors have been shown to play a role in increasing as well as reducing the risk of stroke. For example, […]
By Erin Cochrane, Sam Gilchrist, and Anna Linden (Department of Psychology, Saint Olaf College, Northfield, MN) Aging gracefully isn’t always a sweet process. The World Health Organization warns that malnutrition is a looming issue for our aging population1, but sensory losses can make food less appealing and increase risk for undereating and weight loss2. […]
In the past year, high school psychology students embarked upon an essay to describe an “Aging World,” the theme of this year’s Teachers of Psychology in Secondary Schools (TOPSS) annual essay competition for high school psychology students. Ultimately, four students from high schools around the world were named winners, but the broader impact was that a bevy of young people learned about how to age well and how to support this goal for our current aging population.
Our society places the highest value on independence; doing things by ourselves for ourselves. Because of this, we rarely think about what it would be like to need someone else’s assistance with even the most basic activities: getting dressed, brushing teeth, eating, driving, or filling out paperwork. Thus, when individuals are faced with changes in their physical abilities, the adjustment to using personal care assistance can be challenging.
How do we counter the negative impact of ageist stereotypes pervasive in Western society? It’s more complicated than it appears. Even embracing positive age-related stereotypes can have unintended consequences. Here’s an overview of what research suggests might really work.
Gardening is a popular summer activity for a reason! Research shows that it can have positive effects on our physical, mental, and social well-being as we age. Gardening can range from caring for a single plant to mowing the lawn or planting an entire vegetable garden. Don’t be intimidated. Given the versatility of gardening options, anyone can do it. It’s not too late to dig into gardening this summer!
Facilitating physician and patient engagement in a shared, or collaborative, decision-making process is gaining more attention within healthcare. Using shared decision-making strategies gives physicians more opportunity to provide patients with the necessary medical information to make informed choices.
Who doesn’t enjoy a good story? This holiday season take a few minutes to listen to a story from an older person in your life. You may learn a thing or two and even find some inspiration. Sure, there are lots of self-help and motivational books out there, but a wealth of helpful inside information about how to find happiness and fulfillment is likely waiting for you a lot closer than you think – at your own dinner table or your neighbor’s doorstep.