Elders also need to be engaged, active, and digital, Health News, ET HealthWorld

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from Vandana Nadig Nair

Digital – Bringing Older People Online During the Pandemic Is Critical Nowadays The pandemic has only exacerbated the challenges older people have always faced – namely loneliness, social isolation and fear, frailty, mobility issues and others exacerbate physiological problems. In the first wave of Covid-19, we saw a dramatic death rate in the over 60s, with over 50% of deaths in India being in the 60+ age group. Elderly patients also showed a variety of associated clinical symptoms, including increased lung involvement, faster disease progression, and comorbidities of diabetes, high blood pressure, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) that required increased hospitalization and the need for ventilation and oxygen therapy.

The ongoing nature of the pandemic and the apparent vulnerability of the elderly have taken their toll in the past 18 months. We are now seeing an increase in the signs of depression, anxiety, and abuse in the elderly. The flood of information about the negative effects of the pandemic leads to increased health anxiety and anxiety.

A survey report published by HelpAge India in June 2021 found that up to 62.1% of elders surveyed believe the pandemic has increased the risk of elder abuse. This abuse can take many forms – it can be abuse from family members they live with, their caregivers, emotional trauma from loneliness and neglect from children who have left, and financial abuse. What’s worse is the cascading effect of their mental and emotional problems on their physical health – there is a marked increase in health-related anxiety, high blood pressure, insomnia, weakness, and fatigue (Agewell Foundation, 2021).

As the negative effects of the pandemic, especially on the vulnerable, vulnerable populations such as the elderly, are set to continue, there is growing public recognition and the need to address the problem.

At this point I would like to emphasize and connect another point – the technology. Digital empowerment. The Internet. Technology is good for the elderly. And there were studies that prove this long before the pandemic. For example, in a 2016 study, Chopik found that greater use of social technologies (email, social networking sites, online video / phone calls, online chats / messaging, smartphone use) the better Self-assessment of health, less chronic illnesses, higher subjective well-being and fewer depressive symptoms. Older adults generally had a positive attitude towards technology. In addition, each of the links between social technology use and physical and mental health has been mediated through reduced loneliness.

In a recent video conversation with one of our elders, she shared that she has only stepped out of her home 4 times in the past 16 months! She lives with a young full-time domestic help. An avowed hostility to technology, pre-pandemic, their use of technology and the Internet were limited to e-mail and WhatsApp. When I called, she proudly said to me – “I saw a show on Hotstar and I can use GPay!” She accepted Zoom and resumed her work (Indian classical dance) online. ! But committed. Active.)

At the end of last year a lady from Canada called me tearfully … “I don’t know when we can travel … my mother and her sister live all alone in Bangalore … they have a simple phone … I haven’t seen them for a while” Year … can you please make it easier ?! ”One of our care managers went and connected the mother and daughter in a video call! The tears on either end were rewarded enough! After that, we made it easier to buy a smartphone and taught the elderly how to use WhatsApp video calling. They talk every day now !! That’s the power of technology!

The geriatric care industry is emerging, fragmented and disproportionately geared towards the provision of health services. At ElderAid, too, around 50% of the services we offer fall into the health basket, the remaining 50% are spread across concierge and wellness services and support. While this is natural given the physical weaknesses of the elderly, a welcome trend that we have seen due to the pandemic is to engage the elderly online. Especially in urban India, there are organizations that hold online lectures, practice sessions, and craft sessions for seniors. A senior I spoke to recently said, “I’m part of three such online clubs and I’m so busy now!” While this is a long overdue and most welcome move in promoting the holistic wellbeing of older people, it is It is important that we root such offers in our understanding of older people and how they can best learn and get involved.

Elders must be involved in a multi-sensory, patient, individual or small group way. When they are taught something new, they have to “demonstrate” what they have learned to the moderator, which enables immediate practice, which in turn helps with retention. Repetition and information in small doses always work wonders. First of all, we all need to remember this – never talk to them! You have lived a rich, well-rounded life, demonstrated incredible resilience, and are now incredibly brave in participating in new activities!

Using Herzberg’s motivational theory, adequate, timely, quality health care and concierge support eliminate dissatisfaction. They give consolation, consolation, reassurance – not necessarily happiness and joy. What brings satisfaction and happiness and joy to the elderly is a focus on wellness. Over the past few months, ElderAid has been engaged in exploring through various forays into what can help the elders be happy! Our approach was – to offer small portions of fun to enliven your life. To this end, we tried wellness calls, expert talks, exchanging verified resources, etc. In all of these pilots, we carefully tracked wellbeing / happiness / satisfaction levels before and after the intervention through self-reports from the elders. And the results are overwhelming !! Engaging older people, keeping them active (socially, physically, cognitively) worked !! We have seen 200% leaps in self-reported happiness indices for the elderly due to our wellness initiatives.

While we definitely aim to reach more and more elders around the world with these activities, let’s get back to the basics as well – making sure older people have the digital skills they need to be able to work online first. To take advantage of opportunities. The pandemic has made a positive contribution to increasing the number of elders online. A recent study by KPMG reported that the proportion of internet users in the age group 55 and over was 6% to 8% before the pandemic, but within six months of the pandemic for different categories such as. Communication, medicine, trade, entertainment, etc. have risen to 25 to 30%. That is indeed exciting and a trend that we definitely want to support and expand! We conducted primary phenomenological research with a group of elders to understand their digital learning prioritization. We were surprised that they were prioritizing e-commerce over entertainment, but maybe that’s because we collected data about six months after the pandemic started where they felt the need to buy basic groceries online and Being medication independent.

We are therefore delighted to be launching our new initiative GEO – Get Elders Online on World Elder Day, October 1, 2021! We firmly believe that in the post-pandemic world, being comfortably online, with relevant digital skills and appropriate digital security measures, holistic wellbeing for the elderly can be anywhere just a click or a tap away!

Vandana Nadig Nair – CEO & Co-Founder – ElderAid Wellness and also a member of CovidActionCollab

(DISCLAIMER: The views expressed are exclusive to the author and ETHealthworld.com does not necessarily subscribe to them. ETHealthworld.com is not responsible for any damage caused directly or indirectly to any person / organization.)


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