Studies show that lonely old folks are three times more prone to suffer depression and mental breakdown compared to similarly aged individuals who are not lonely with estimations projecting over 1.5 million people aged 50 and above as serial victims of chronic loneliness
According to the United Kingdom’s Principal Secretary of State for Health and Social Care, Matt Hancock loneliness has a profound human cost that can destroy one’s health and happiness and should be medically tackled.
‘Loneliness affects people of all ages and backgrounds and is something any of us or our loved ones could experience during our lifetimes. So it is important we do everything we can to reduce loneliness and isolation and provide help to those who need it,” she said.
In a report, authorised by Vodafone (British multinational telecommunications conglomerate) to the British government, the technology could be the solution to chronic loneliness. If harnessed it could help support older people to remain independent in their home without necessarily having a physical company. Previously, UK government had resorted doctors prescribing dancing and cookery classes to help with the condition.
Technology-focused solutions such as wearable devices, monitoring systems or classes providing lessons on how to use technology could be a better feasible solution to the issue. The research also encourages the Government to launch a consultation on supporting independent living, given the potential benefits that smart devices can offer.
‘We launched our first ever loneliness strategy last year, and through our Ageing Society Grand Challenge, we want to harness innovation to tackle loneliness and support healthy ageing. New technologies and services that can help people stay connected and independent will play an important role in this,” said Health Secretary Matt Hancock.
With the UK government positively embracing technology in high scales to counter chronic loneliness, its a matter of time before the strategy trickles to other nations giving victims a sense of belonging to a virtual community, cushioning them from depression.