Socially isolated older adults often lack opportunities to establish the social connections that support positive health and well-being. Volunteering, either formal or informal, is one strategy to prevent and even address social isolation among older adults. The act of volunteering, particularly for older adults, is well researched and has been found to be associated with many positive health and well-being outcomes, including improved physical and mental health, increased physical activity and socialization, the development of personal resilience against stress, gains in knowledge and skills, and reduced mortality risk. This chapter presents vignette illustrating the personal significance of volunteer work is based on the experience of a volunteer participating in a Retired and Senior Volunteer Program. It discusses some existing pathways that can lead an older adult into formal and informal volunteer service and opportunities for engagement that can be either accessed locally or replicated through new program efforts.
Your search for all content returned 6 results
Digital social networking is essentially limitless, but it requires an Internet connection, a device, and the ability to use the technology. This chapter addresses the following questions: To what extent do older adults take advantage of the Internet and social media for their social interactions?; Is it possible to reduce the epidemic of social isolation through these technologies?. It is organized as follows: It first reviews some facts about how older adults are adopting new technologies and the barriers that prevent their adoption. It then introduces new research areas which utilize modern technologies and have implications for combating the modern-day social isolation epidemic. Finally, the chapter discusses some cautions and research areas that need to be addressed before advocating digital socialization among older adults. The chapter also share some interesting discussion exchanges among members of the Gerontological Society of America posted in its open forum a few months ago.
Many of today’s lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) older adults grew up in a time of intense homophobia and transphobia, when homosexual behavior was both criminalized and seen as a disease. The risk of social isolation for current LGBT older adults is likely increased as they are more than twice as likely to live along and four times less likely to have children than their non-LGBT peers. This chapter provides a brief description on: health well-being, and risks of social isolation for LGBT older adults; families of choice, social supports, and social networks; and disclosure management and access to services. Like all older adults, LGBT individuals need social connections to thrive as they age. Programs do exist to meet the social needs of LGBT elders. Fortunately progress is being made both within mainstream social and health services organizations and with increased development of specialized programs for LGBT older adults.
- Go to chapter: International Perspectives on Social Relationships, Social Isolation, and Well-Being Among Older Adults
International Perspectives on Social Relationships, Social Isolation, and Well-Being Among Older Adults
The interpersonal environment in which older adults are embedded strongly influences their health and well-being. A state of social isolation can be defined as the absence of a meaningful interpersonal environment. This chapter presents some important theoretical and methodological distinctions. It looks at the association between several key aspects of the interpersonal realm, on the one hand, and selected positive and negative well-being outcomes, on the other. It examines the contribution of the construct of network type, a composite measure of social relations, to the study and the understanding of the interpersonal domain of older people, and its role in well-being. Following this, it considers another indicator of social relations—this time, a scale of social connectedness—and how this measure disentangles the effects of social relations and social activity on well-being. Finally, the chapter presents findings on the implications of changes that occur in the interpersonal environment on the mental health.
Physical activity for older adults has become a central feature of our culture. Physical activity programs intended for older adults call for an understanding of the social, psychological, and physical factors that influence their receptivity and effectiveness in supporting individual well-being. This chapter is organized into three sections, each addressing older adult social integration and physical activity in specific ways that are applicable to health professionals. Section one defines key terms, presents concepts on aging, and offers evidence to enhance well-being through social integration and physical activity. Section two provides a practical approach to working with older adults through physical activity that includes benefits, guidelines, recommendations, opportunities and barriers to physical activity, and a resource guide to best practices and approaches for older adults. In section three, two cases, based on individuals the authors have worked with, provide physical activity progressions and considerations for social integration.
This chapter explores what major factors contribute to and detract from older adults’ ability to sustain sexual and romantic satisfaction well into the last half of their lives. It pays particular attention to the ways in which being single can both inhibit and be a positive part of this new stage of love, sexuality, and intimacy for older adults. The chapter concentrates on the demographic traits of the post-50 population that affect sexual and romantic longevity; however, it discusses toward some of the psychosocial variables that can impact sex after 50 (such as societal stigma and personal communication styles between partners) as well as some of the more inevitable obstacles to sex older men and women experience. It also looks at how institutional practices such as the current state of long-term care facilities often have policies that inhibit their residents’ ability to be sexually active.