Preventing elderly social isolation

Covid-19 - context

The confinement had the consequence of drastically reducing the social interactions of nursing homes residents with their family, relatives, caregivers but also with the other residents. For those whose mobility was allowing it, it meant the end of the walks in the residence or in the garden, or even the end of visits to room neighbors.

Very sadly, the observation now comes that confinement, which was conceivable and possible over a short period of time, has long-term significant effects on many residents' mental health.

Very positive initiatives have sprung up everywhere, to try to reconnect as much as possible residents with their families. The nursing homes staff ramped up to keep the residents occupied and entertained, to the best of their ability and with the resources they had. Also, pupils, also confined in their homes, sent magnificent drawings to residents of their city's or region's nursing homes. The solidarity was exceptional.

However, all of these initiatives could not completely fill the lack of social relationships and activity that older people have suffered for several months now.

 

Well-being and ageing well

Already in 2011, a research report ("Well-being and mental health: essential assets for aging well", Olivier de Ladoucette, psychiatrist and geriatrician) recognizes and recommends some factors with positive impacts for the psychological well-being of the elderly.

This is of course about fighting isolation and loneliness with regular social contacts, but also about maintaining self-esteem, as well as coping, learning and transmission skills, and keeping the control over one's life.

Also, activity, in the general sense, remains one of the important factors for aging well. However, the qualitative aspect of the activity is just as essential as the quantitative aspect. Indeed, the freedom to choose an activity according to one's tastes, the feeling of competence, the motivation and the pleasure withdrawn, seem essential dimensions for the activity to allow a real psychological well-being.

Physical activity is no different. It has been demonstrated numerous times its benefits on cardio-respiratory endurance, muscle and bone conditions, and other physical benefits, but also on the breakdowns reduction.

The recommendations for the elderly are to practice regular physical activity, a minimum of 30 minutes per day. It is therefore rather reported quantity, but rarely quality, and in particular the pleasure felt at the time of physical activity, that is to say the intrinsic motivation.

 

SilverFit and quality of physical activity

SilverFit systems 3D, Mile and Alois (well adapted to nursing homes) are developed to respond precisely to this essential qualitative aspect of physical activity, as well as cognitive activity.

Whether for regular activity, or as part of rehabilitation, the ludic and / or virtual interface of the SilverFit systems allows better therapeutic adherence. Older adults have fun, focus on the goal of the game and not on the effort to produce.

Thus, surpassing oneself during the game, added to positive feedback through scores / results, improve self-esteem and encourage to regularly repeat the exercises.

Many nursing homes equipped with SilverFit systems have also reported that the use of SilverFit systems since the start of confinement was more regular than before.

Indeed, the Mile has offered residents, for individual use, delightful places to escape to by bike, while remaining in the secure setting of the residence.

The SilverFit 3D and Alois were used individually, in the rooms, to allow residents to keep moving while having a fun time.

Apart from pandemic period, these systems are great for exercising in groups and create social dynamics and interactions between residents but also with healthcare professionals.

The Mile, with 2 or 3 residents cycling next to each other, allow them to exchange about holiday memories or visits experienced in the past.

The 3D games are great opportunities to laugh together and possibly create a friendly and healthy competition between residents.

Finally, the soothing activities of the Alois allow residents to meet together around a relaxing aquarium or watch together endearing and funny photos.

 

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