Social Isolation in Care Facilities in Canada, 10 to 50 percent of older adults feel lonely. Loneliness and social isolation are associated with several adverse outcomes, such as increased mortality, falls, cardiovascular disease, functional decline, depression, dementia, and elder abuse (Menec et al.,
Social isolation is rising in our aging population, particularly among those living in long-term care (LTC) facilities. The prevalence of severe loneliness among older people living in care homes is at least double that of community-dwelling populations 22-42% vs.10% respectively, (Simard & Volicer, 2020). Better strategies are required to counter social isolation. Providing social support and a sense of belonging can be strategies to counter social isolation.
Activity-based solutions have been shown to provide more meaning to seniors and, consequently,
reduce social isolation. Several articles provide evidence about activities that may decrease loneliness.
Current health services, including LTC facilities, are not adequately aligned to meet the needs of aging populations, nor do they provide age or culture-appropriate integrated care services that focus on maintaining the intrinsic capacity (e.g., physical, and mental health functioning) of older persons
(DeSalvo et al., 2009). Could companions be the link workers in care facilities to deliver personalized social needs for the residents?
Our project aims to connect Long-term care facility residents with companions matching the residents' values and culture and introduce(digital) social prescribing within care facilities. This
discussion will examine the gaps in LTC care homes, what we are doing and the future.
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