NYSOFA has invested in several initiatives leveraging technology and digital tools to combat social isolation and provide support for caregivers. These offerings supplement direct services and supports provided at the local level by NYSOFA's network of providers.
Social isolation has profound health and emotional impacts for older adults.
The health effects of isolation are equivalent to smoking a pack of cigarettes a day and are associated with $6.7 billion in Medicare spending each year.
According to the CDC, social isolation significantly increases a person’s risk of premature death and a 50% percent increased risk of dementia.
There are an estimated 4.1 million caregivers in New York State who provide 2.68 billion hours of unpaid care.
61% of caregivers worry about caring for a loved one.
70% of caregivers reported at least one mental health symptom during the pandemic.
Free digital supports for caregivers
Visit our caregiver resource page to learn about further help for caregivers through offices for the aging and community partners.
Free digital tools to connect online
Older adults in New York have free access to online classes through GetSetUp. Classes are designed for older adults by older adults. Get help using digital devices and find support for physical, mental and social health with Tai Chi, Yoga, healthy cooking, meditation, book clubs, gardening, travel, and so much more.
How it Works: Sign up for free at https://www.getsetup.io/partner/NYSTATE.
Use the Pets Together social network for free video visits with pet owners. You'll find meaningful connections that ease stress. A Pets Together video visit is approximately 30 minutes in length. Older adults who participate get to meet with volunteer pet-owners to see and learn about their pets. More importantly, the conversation offers an opportunity for engagement aimed at combatting social isolation.
How it works: Reserve a virtual visit directly at https://petstogether.org.
NYSOFA has been providing animatronic pets to older adults who experience social isolation. These plush, "lifelike" robotic pets are designed to make realistic sounds and motions, providing comfort and companionship to individuals. In a pilot study, NYSOFA found that 70 percent of older adults receiving these pets reported a reduction/significant reduction in loneliness as well as a 75 percent decrease in pain.
How It Works: Use the discount code NYS20 at http://joyforall.com for a 20% discount on a companion pet; or contact your county office for the aging.
ElliQ is the is the first-ever proactive and empathetic care companion. It is designed to foster independence and provide support for older adults through daily check-ins, assistance with wellness goals and physical activities, connection to family and friends, and more using voice commands and/or on-screen instructions.
How It Works: NYSOFA is working with local offices for the aging to identify older adults who would most benefit from the technology. Individuals who are interested can read more at https://elliq.com/.