Social isolation in general refers to the lack of social contacts and regular social interaction. Older adults are more susceptible to social isolation as they lose friends to death, develop illnesses that prevent regular socialization, live in remote areas with lack of transportation or in long term care facilities where loved ones aren't able to visit frequently. Social isolation can lead to depression, loneliness, and boredom which in turn can be the precursor to mental or physical ailment. Following is more information about social isolation and ways to help feel more connected.
Understanding Social Isolation & Tips to Help
National institute on aging tips for staying connected
https://connect2affect.org/ Provided through the AARP Foundation, Connect 2 Affect is a resource to help overcome social isolation. Answer a short survey for either yourself or someone else to determine isolation risk. Then follow some of their recommendations to get more connected.
Social engagement finder through virginia navigator
https://easyaccess.virginia.gov/social Powered by Virginia Navigator, The Social Engagement Finder helps you locate resources to connect with people, including programs like telephone reassurance, friendship cafes, companion services and more.
Social isolation overview flyer from Dars/Virginia Navigator
iPads for Seniors is a campaign of Aging Together that provides free iPads for long term care facilities in our region so that residents can connect to loved ones, doctors, and activities. iPads are donated based on current funding and availability. If you are an administrator of a long term care facility who would like to participate in the iPads for Seniors program, please contact Aging Together at firstname.lastname@example.org or 540-829-6405.
Aging Together is working to increase the program by adding other technology such as robotic pets. Check back for updates.
ELLEN PHIPPS ON THE POWER OF PERSONALIZED ACTIVITIES FOR THOSE LIVING WITH DEMENTIA / RECORDED VIDEO
From June 25, 2021: Hear Aging Together's Executive Director speak on The Power of Personalized Activities for Persons Living with Dementia as part of the "Mason Music and Memories Initiative" speaker series. Ellen speaks about what the "person centered approach" means in terms of caring for someone living with dementia, and offers tools to formulate activities around person centered care. A great listen for any caregivers, family or professional, who are looking for better ways to successfully communicate with, and help those living with dementia. (Once you hit Play, there is a 5-second stall before video starts.) THE POWER OF PERSONALIZED ACTIVITIES
The Mason Music & Memory Initiative (George Mason University) improves the quality of life of persons living with dementia by using personalized music to access long-held joyful memories and positive emotions. Music has been found to successfully soothe and comfort persons with dementia, as well as reduce negative states such as agitation and depression. When implemented consistently over time, this person-centered approach of using music to soothe and comfort persons with dementia has the potential to reduce the need for costly pharmacologic interventions.
Since 2019, the Mason Music & Memory Initiative researchers have been contacting nursing homes throughout the state of Virginia to recruit participants for a study on the effectiveness of Music & Memory. The purpose of the study is to measure the impacts of personalized music on the mood, behavior and quality of life of persons with dementia. Through funding from the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services (DMAS), Mason Music & Memory Initiative researchers hope to provide this person-centered program to residents in at least 144 Medicaid-funded nursing homes in the state of Virginia.