It is not unexpected that loneliness is experienced by older adults. New research, however, suggests that loneliness and social isolation have a similar effect on mortality as compared with smoking. The effects of loneliness are not only physical in nature. "Seniors that experience social isolation and loneliness are more likely to suffer from stress, depression, cognitive and functional decline, morbidity and death … Lonely seniors [are] 50% more likely to die earlier than seniors who felt meaningfully connected with others, even after results were adjusted for factors such as depression, socioeconomic status and existing health conditions." A new form of communication technology called InTouch is designed to help mitigate the social isolation often experienced by seniors. "It [InTouch] uses "asynchronous messaging" – that is, platforms that don't require both parties to communicate at the same time, such as email – multimedia and whatever medium the individual recipient prefers. InTouch allows family members to send video messages to each other and have them appear on televisions, computers or tablets, so that regardless of availability, loved ones can stay in touch." To read about this innovative program check out this article.
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