How tech is tackling social isolation – check out these new solutions

One of the 7A’s of SuperAging is Attachment — the maintaining of family and social relationships as we age. The research is clear: social isolation is, in and of itself, a serious risk to health and longevity. Some studies found it can increase the risk of premature death by over 50%.

Can technology help? Certainly, SuperAgers are tech-savvy and eager users of the Internet for everything from social network sites to peer support chat groups to online gaming. But more products and services are being developed all the rime, and we checked in with Lori Orlov’s essential blog, Aging and Health Technology Watch, for some of the latest.

  • Virtual care companion – Virtual companions engage with health plan members throughout the day, providing psychosocial support while gaining data for the health plan that can be used to improve member experience. Find out more here.
  • Virtual nurse assistant – For high-needs and at-risk patients, engages patients conversationally with phone call, text or chat to proactively manage health. Find out more here.
  • Interactive tablet – Enables encrypted private family network so loved ones can upload contacts, photos, email, video calls. Find out more here.
  • Daily automated calls – Low-cost solution features personalized automated check-in call, loved ones receive notification if call missed or no answer. Find out more here.
  • Virtual reality sessions – Designed for senior living centers, clinics, group settings, provides virtual reality equipment and programs including travel, games and experiences and content supplied by families (e.g., photos, videos). Find out more here.

While we found all the products and services interesting, what’s really important here is the scope of the development activity, to leverage technology to mitigate social isolation. There is a constant stream of new products and new innovations, with increased emphasis on personalization. When you combine this with the emerging trends toward personalized medication, it’s clear that we’re only at the beginning of how revolutions in technology can and will make it easier to reduce social isolation.

Whether you’re interested in these developments for yourself or for a parent or other loved one, you can be sure we’ll keep following this sector closely.

(Photo credit: Yacobchuk at iStock by Getty)

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