Did you know that social isolation is worse for your health than smoking 15 cigarettes a day?
Staying socially active is also a bigger influence on your overall wellbeing than exercise and maintaining a healthy weight.
That can become more difficult when we age thanks to changes like leaving the workforce, children moving away or illness.
In the digital age where so much communication happens online, how do older people stay connected?
VMCH Residential Services Clinical Manager, Jeff Brooks, said some of our aged care residences have programs to help residents learn how to use iPads and engage with the internet. VMCH is also looking to expand this program.
Volunteers and students from near-by schools get a real kick out of showing residents how to use iPads. Some of the things that are most popular with residents is learning about social media and connecting with their children and grandchildren.
“They love being able to keep in touch with the news, email people, learn how to use services like Skype to video-stream with loved ones that live far away.”
Nothing beats visits from loved ones. When that’s not possible, being able to see their faces and speak to them via a tablet can be the next best thing.
For some people it is the difference between having regular updates about their loved-one’s lives, and watching their grandkids grow up. As opposed to being lucky to see relatives, who sometimes live interstate or overseas, a few times a year if they are lucky.
“It just makes the world much smaller and brings so many things to their doorstep,” Jeff said.
Can you help?
At VMCH, we have 11 aged care residences located throughout Victoria. We are launching our In-Touch program to help more residents stay connected.
Our new fundraising campaign aims to provide residents with new iPads and assist them to get the most out of them. Local volunteers and students from near-by schools will help residents learn iPad basics, connect to their community and loved ones.
If you would like to donate securely to our In-Touch appeal, please go to our website: click here .