Why Loneliness Is So Dangerous for Your Aging Parents' Health

An IBM study on older adults and loneliness finds a direct correlation between loneliness in older adults and declining health, both physically and physiologically. (Pixabay/StockSnap)

Front Porch, a not-for-profit organization that serves individuals and families through full-service retirement, active adult communities and affordable housing communities, announced today it will be the first senior living organization to purchase iN2L FOCUS, the new touch-screen, tablet-based system from It's Never 2 Late®, the leader in providing person-centered digital engagement. The tablets allow residents to "touch" their way to engaging, educational, spiritual and personalized content.

Front Porch's Center for Innovation and Wellbeing released the iN2L FOCUS to residents across its residential, skilled, affordable housing and memory care settings at Front Porch communities, including Kingsley Manor and Carlsbad By The Sea, in early September. Front Porch was one of a few select organizations playing a crucial role in iN2L's development when its residents and staff helped beta test FOCUS. Residents living at those beta test communities, Sunny ViewFredericka Manor and Casa de Mañana, will continue to use the tablets.

The iN2L FOCUS has senior-friendly components in a highly visual interactive package that allows activity and therapy staff to provide a fully integrated experience. It improves residents' quality of life by enhancing their independence. A personalized home page makes it easy for residents to navigate meaningful content and provides physical and cognitive stimulation in areas such as communication applications, learning and exploration, travel, games, brain fitness and physical exercise, current and past events and more.

"iN2L FOCUS has been specially designed so residents can select and personalize their content based on their unique needs and interests," said Davis Park, director of the Front Porch Center for Innovation and Wellbeing. "We have seen iN2L improve engagement among our residents through increased communication and connection with others within the community, opportunities to reconnect with loved ones online and a greater sense of personal purpose and growth from engaging the mind, body and spirit through new technologies."

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In 2017, Front Porch residents and staff have logged more than 30,000 hours of iN2L usage at its retirement, adult living and affordable housing communities.

An IBM study on older adults and loneliness finds a direct correlation between loneliness in older adults and declining health, both physically and physiologically. The tablet with personalized content is a tool to enhance engagement, thereby reducing the critical risk factors of loneliness and isolation in older adults.

"The iN2L has had a permeating impact throughout our memory-care neighborhoods," said JoAnn Gilbert, director of health services at Sunny View. "It has enhanced the way we deliver meaningful care, and in many instances offers an alternative solution to medication for people with cognition challenges."

While beta testing FOCUS, the FPCIW found the iN2L devices to be effective care tools for one-on-one engagement between staff and residents. "We've learned in our iN2L beta tests that the tablets were and continue to be powerful vehicles for promoting social connectedness, reminiscence and cognitive and physical activity--especially among residents who are socially isolated or bedbound," noted Park.

The convenience of a portable form factor has been important to busy staff members looking to deliver iN2L's rich content to hard-to-reach individuals.

"We are thrilled that Front Porch is the first to adopt the usage of the FOCUS tablets for residents," said Jack York, president and co-founder of iN2L. "FOCUS takes the digital communication capabilities most of us take for granted and integrates it into the long-term care landscape. We believe FOCUS is essential to keep residents engaged, help family members stay connected, and provide caregivers with support to improve workflow and resident experience."

This project is a continuation of FPCIW's mission to cultivate partnerships with innovative organizations. Through collaborations with organizations like iN2L, the FPCIW pilots and diffuses technology solutions that meet the diverse needs of older adults.

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