The Hidden Risks of Social Isolation & Loneliness
While constantly evolving the QMedic service, we have spent considerable time trying to understand the problems older adults are facing. Social isolation was an area of need we identified very early based on just a few interactions. It’s easy for many of us to understand this problem based on our own experience, but the magnitude of the problem and its impact on health is really astounding.
Consider these two conclusions from recent meta-analysis studies on older adult social isolation:
- Up to 43% of adults aged 65 years and older living at home are considered socially isolated (Nicholson 2012 – A Review of Social Isolation)
- Social isolation has more of a negative impact on health than smoking 15 cigarettes per day (Holt-Lunstad et al 2010 – Social Relationships and Mortality Risks: A Meta-analytical Review - see image above for risk factor comparison).
At QMedic, we see the effects of social isolation first hand. On many occasions what is intended to be a short interaction with a customer or prospect becomes a 20-minute conversation. In these cases, it is obvious that there is a pent-up desire to socialize.
We’ve tried to incorporate the need for socialization in to our service as much as possible. Most importantly, we place high value on personalized customer service and there is no limit on the time we are willing to spend with a customer. However, we know there’s much more we can do, especially as we explore ways to connect users of the QMedic service to each other. Having users interconnected together could share many positive tips, such as fall prevention etc. It’s early, but we look forward to finding new ways we can address social isolation in the future. There is definitely a big need.