The elderly population in India is one of the fastest-growing in the world. At present India is considered as the second-largest global population of ageing citizens. It is expected that the present number will further increase by 2050.
“One in every five senior citizens needs psychological counselling”
In a country of over a billion people, one in every two elderly individuals suffers from loneliness, according to a new study. The study says that 47.49 per cent of these elders suffer from loneliness. Figures from the urban neighbourhoods were worse: 3,205 elderly out of 5,000 felt lonely. The exercise was undertaken in 300 districts across India from April to June this year.
In most cases, living alone was cited as the reason for their loneliness. As per the findings of the survey, about 36 per cent said that living alone or only with their spouse as the company left them feeling dejected.
For some, it was ‘less interaction with family members (27.3%)
For some, it was ‘poor health’ (19.06 %)
For some others, it was isolation and non-availability of social interaction (12 %).
Loneliness, depression, and sociability in old age
Older people who stay alone are more prone to increased health risks due to negligence. Isolation and loneliness go hand-in-hand with old age and these conditions are becoming more and more common.
Unfortunately, for those ageing in place alone, without a partner or strong network of loved ones nearby to visit with regularly, it’s often all-too-easy to fall victim to a desolate, socially isolated lifestyle – and the resulting levels of loneliness can quickly become unbearable. Health experts have correlated negligence and loneliness in this age group with cognitive deterioration like Alzheimer’s disease, along with increased stress, anxiety, feeling of unworthiness, depression. Depression or the occurrence of depressive symptomatology is a prominent condition amongst older people, with a significant impact on well-being and quality of life. This lack of interaction with others can sometimes impair cognitive function over some time. There are chances of memory loss or confusion because they are not using their mind or using that part of the brain that is stimulated by social interaction.
The unmet need for elderly patients
With the disintegration of the joint family system and the rise in the number of nuclear families, senior citizens in India often find themselves feeling alone, neglected and depressed even when they are living with their children and grandchildren.
The stress and pressures of the modern world keep the family members busy with their work and studies, with little time and sometimes the inclination to spend time with the older members of their households. “We think of loneliness affecting only people who live by themselves, but 40% of elders live with their families – they become irritable because their children and grandchildren have no time to sit with them or take them somewhere.
Elderly centric digital companion
In an era of hyper-connectedness, India’s ageing population is struggling with loneliness and becoming increasingly disconnected from its environment. But, there are ways of coping and help is available.
The feeling of loneliness or being detached from one’s surroundings is not just a human emotion but a complex response to the lack of companionship. In recent years, a variety of digital healthcare solutions have been developed to support people in old age and promote healthy ageing the ability to communicate with others at any time over large distances virtually is unprecedented. digital companion care is a new option for older people with particular needs. It complements traditional forms of elderly care, such as in-home or nursing home care.
ELRO – Elderly companion for the elderly is uniquely designed to take care of you at home. It gives older patients the option to consult with their healthcare provider remotely using live video, audio and instant messaging through a smart device.
Benefits of digital companion care:
Having a virtual companion is an excellent complement to traditional forms of eldercare. Research into these benefits is growing as digital care becomes more common.
A conversational interface minimizes (ideally eliminates) users need to learn device, it learns about them and starts engaging proactively.
Ability to detect falls and other potential emergencies, and summon help.
Regular reports about vital health signs, activities and medicine reminders to caregivers. These reports help in identifying health issues early on and provide care as needed.
We’re delighted to facilitate positive change, empower older adult users to participate in healthy behaviours at home. Our ELRO team is currently working on testing and expanding our capabilities to provide healthier and happier days for the elderly Please be connected to receive more updates in the months to come. Thanks for reading!