How to Combat Social Isolation Using an iPad

Jan 26, 2024 | Newsletter, Winter 2024

According to the National Institute on Aging, “Loneliness is the distressing feeling of being alone or separated, while social isolation is the lack of social contacts and having few individuals to interact with on a regular basis.”  

Older adults are at higher risk for social isolation and loneliness due to changes in health and social connections associated with aging. Studies show that loneliness and social isolation are associated with higher risks for health problems such as heart disease, depression, and cognitive decline. 

To help combat these negative effects, try to exercise regularly, eat a healthy diet, get enough sleep (7 to 9 hours), and pursue activities you enjoy to manage stress and stay as mentally and physically healthy as possible. 

There are also assistive technology devices that may assist people in combatting loneliness and social isolation. There are several categories of technology that have been studied as tools to lessen social isolation, including social networks, videoconferencing, and more.  

The Digital Inclusion team at Sourcewise is actively working to help mitigate the feelings of social isolation through bridging the digital divide. Residents of Santa Clara County who are 60 years of age or older, live alone, and currently do not own a functioning tablet and/or no broadband access may be eligible for the Sourcewise Digital Connections (DC) Program. Priority is given to individuals who are low-income. Informal caregivers who are 18 years of age or older are also considered. This program provides iPads, technical training, and one-on-one virtual trainings to program participants. 

To learn more about the Sourcewise DC Program for yourself or a loved one, contact a Community Resource Specialist at (408) 350-3200, option 1, or email community@mysourcewise.com.

Lung Cancer Screening

Medicare Part B covers lung cancer screening using low-dose computed tomography (LDCT) if the individual meets all the following criteria:

  • Aged 55 to 77
  • No signs or symptoms of lung cancer
  • Current smoker or quit smoking within the past 15 years
  • Tobacco smoking history averaging one pack per day for 20 years (“20 pack-years”)
  • An order from a doctor or healthcare provider

Take advantage of these preventative services offered by Medicare by asking for them for yourself or your loved one. In this way, older adults can reduce their risk of developing substance abuse disorders or mitigate its effects to maintain healthier lifestyles.

References

  1. National Institute on Drug Abuse. (2020, July). Substance use in older adults drugfacts. Substance Use in Older Adults DrugFacts | National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) (nih.gov)
  2. gov. (n.d.). Preventive & screening services. preventive services (medicare.gov)

 

This project was supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $94,686 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.