Even before COVID-19 changed how the world socialized, senior centers and communities were searching for ways to make sure the seniors in their care were engaged with the activities they offered.
However, with social distancing health policies, determining how to keep older adults healthy & engaged is more important than ever.
We founded televëda with that mission: to create our programming and platform specifically to increase engagement during senior center activities, and therefore reduce loneliness and social isolation in the older population.
Through our curated content, expert instructors, and easy-to-use technology, we measured various changes in senior center residents’ moods, levels of engagement, social connectivity, physical health, and overall well-being.
For example, a community we worked with saw an over 900% increase in activity attendance, and another watched residents’ moods improve by over 50%. For more facts and figures (we know some of you love them!), head here.
Though sometimes social health isn’t taken seriously, reducing loneliness and social isolation through engagement can see increased longevity, lowered healthcare costs for senior centers, and reduced staff burden. Social health can have a much larger impact that many people realize.
With the continuation of social distancing requirements and the shutdowns of senior centers, the percentage of older adults spending most of their time alone--and feeling the effects of loneliness--has risen dramatically, leading to an increased chance of social isolation and feelings of loneliness.
Social isolation is the absence of social contact between an individual and society that leads to feelings of loneliness. It can be triggered by a number of factors including loss of mobility, unemployment, long-term illness, and economic struggles, and is often linked to mental illness.
Social isolation can be an issue for individuals of any age, but it is of particular danger to the elderly population, given that they're more likely to experience those risk factors.
Prolonged loneliness can increase the risk of suffering from chronic health conditions, can exacerbate various health conditions, and can lead to premature mortality.
It’s also expensive: Social isolation, sedentary lifestyles, and cognitive decline are three elements that exacerbate each other and contribute to a billions of deficit in preventable healthcare spending. Lonely people are just more likely to strain health-care systems and national productivity from their lack of activity. Their bodies are distinctly different from the bodies of healthy people.
Realizing the impact of loneliness and spreading awareness on the need to prevent and reduce social isolation increases the chance solutions will be implemented.
Loneliness not only impacts the individual, but their caretakers, their living facilities, and the country’s entire healthcare system. Social isolation is a global problem, and requires a global solution.
Emphasizing one’s social wellness is just as important as physical and mental health because every aspect of one’s health is interconnected. Better social health has benefits from a stronger immune system, to lower stress and a longer life.
For some fun, easy ways you can support senior citizens’ social wellness on your own, try these five (socially distant) social wellness games with the senior citizens in your life. Whether you’re a senior care worker, a senior center activities director, or have an older loved one, prioritizing their social wellness will keep them happier and healthier for much longer.
Anything that requires social interaction, as well physical or mental exercise is a great booster for engagement. Bonding over a bingo win--or a loss--will advance friendships over time.
televëda is all about programming with a purpose: we’re constantly evolving content designed for engagement, improving cognition and mood, and socialization activities.
And that’s exactly what you should do! Without great content, you can have the best online programming platform or awesome tech support, but it just won’t matter if people aren’t joining the classes (hint: everyone loves bingo).
P.S. Check out some great online programming options for seniors here.
Though content is key, finding individuals that can teach or perform that content in an engaging manner is just as important for engagement success. Bingo is fun, but how much more fun is it when the players love the presenter?
When hiring or training current instructors you want to emphasize a few things:
Here’s a quick story to demonstrate what we mean:
Historically, residents from different communities within a senior community we partnered with didn’t co-mingle. Usually, Assisted Living residents would stick with each other, Independent Living residents would keep to themselves, and so on. But with televeda, residents from all parts of the community were connecting with each other in ways staff simply hadn’t seen before.
For instance, two people of Polish descent--who had been living in the community for over a year in different parts of the senior community--were able to connect with each other for the first time in one of our classes, and became fast friends.
But, it doesn’t have to be just connections within communities. We started a facebook group for all of our social media-minded members to post pictures, discuss classes, and share updates. They’ve even recently requested a class that is solely for them to catch up: no games or lessons or workouts allowed!
It’s so heartening to see them build these friendships beyond televëda. They even notice and check in with each other when one of their friends or teammates doesn’t attend a class.
Data tracking is key for increasing engagement at your senior center or community. If you don’t know whether or not your programming, or schedules, or platform, is creating changes in engagement and mood, it’s going to be tough to improve.
Some metrics you could measure:
At televeda, we understand that every community is unique, which is why we create data reports tracking wellness and engagement to ensure a positive ROI, and that the vision you have for your center is successful and can best serve your residents.
Additionally, it’s important to ask your members for feedback beyond the numbers. What are their favorite classes? What don’t they love? What do they want to see?
Continuously tracking your metrics and making improvements is necessary for success. And remember, you might have to experiment a bit. The point is making the changes, and seeing if they work. If they don’t, then just keep working at.
You can make this all a lot easier on yourself by using engagement platforms designed for seniors. They all vary in what they can do for your senior center, so make sure to do some research first.
At televëda, we describe ourselves as a “one-stop-shop” for senior engagements. We offer the content and instructors, the live streaming platform, the data analyzing, and more. With televeda you don’t need to manage a ton of different apps and programs.
We provides a monthly calendar of curated live streaming activity programming for senior centers and communities that they stream on their interactive, two-way platform.
But, it’s not just software: it’s also the tech support, security advisors, expert teachers, content curators, and data analyzers. televëda understands that every community is unique, which is why they also provide data reports tracking wellness and engagement to ensure a positive ROI, and that a senior center’s vision will best serve the senior community resident engagement needs.
As a community partner, televëda’s programming puts organizations at a competitive advantage, as well as allows staff to focus on the core duties and needs of communities. And by providing a wide array of classes--fitness, education, karaoke, bingo, virtual tours, and more--they speak to every senior’s interests and needs as they foster relationships between seniors, staff, and entire virtual communities.
Put simply: we provide an end-to-end solution to senior isolation and loneliness through improving social health and engagement. Sounds like something you'd be interested in? Contact us today through our consultation form.
Social isolation can be devastating. No one wants to see a parent, relative, or friend suffering from loneliness.
The physical, mental, cultural, and economic effects of loneliness are detrimental to societies worldwide, especially for older adults. But by using engagement tools and software, it is possible to mitigate the effects on senior citizens, and save their lives.
Using any and all of the above ways to increase the engagement levels at your senior center and its activities will help you see changes in the health of your members, physically, mentally and socially.
Which one will you try first?