If “Loneliness is ‘deadly for the elderly” isn’t it time we recognised the life saving potential of SMS?

Sarah Cassidy reports in the Independent from the “first major summit on loneliness” – part of the UK Government’s work with the Campaign to End Loneliness – and the take aways are quite stark:

Loneliness is as big a killer as smoking, obesity and alcohol… …Research shows a clear link between social interaction and increased longevity… …more than one million people aged over 65 say they are often or always lonely… …Every local council is to receive guidance on how to measure levels of loneliness and people at risk of loneliness in their area, Care Services Minister Paul Burstow announced… …”Loneliness is the great unspoken public health issue. Research suggests it is more harmful to health than obesity and that there is a 50% reduction in mortality if you have a strong social network. If we do nothing, these people are going to turn up in our accident and emergency departments and care homes at great cost to society and loss to the individuals concerned. Research has shown that loneliness can be as harmful to your health as alcohol and tobacco, but we also know that people who have day- to-day contact live longer and healthier lives. The Government is working with the Campaign to End Loneliness to raise awareness about just how important even a simple phone call or visit can be to someone’s health”…

Following a post I published last week for mothers day (“This Mothers Day teach someone you love to SMS and set them up some preset templates“) I thought what great timing, but imagine my surprise to find that the Campaign to End Loneliness website hasn’t got a single mention of Mobile Phones, SMS or MMS!

How can we possibly connect seniors if we’re not even talking about the world’s most addictive and pervasive form of digital communications?

Now of course I’m surprised that Mobile Phone operators and device manufacturers aren’t all over this campaign (it aligns perfectly with the opportunity they have to engage the most affluent and lowest spending mobile consumer group) but I agree so strongly with the campaigns aim (to address Loneliness issues and appreciate it as one of the big and easily preventable killers) that I’ve emailed the organisation offering to supply a completely personalised Doro 615 Easy to use Cameraphone to one of the lonely adults they’re working with.

I’ll update this post when I get a reply and hopefully we’ll be able to get some independent feedback on how this inclusively designed and slightly personalised mobile phone can start helping to transform the life of a lonely senior citizen.

I also hope the organisation will soon be setting themselves up a SMS donation number (so they can raise further funds for their important work), start working to help seniors become aware of the mobile opportunity (perhaps with their own independent Which? style review of the various mobile and M2M devices – eg the SeN-Cit, FireTxt – that are available on the market), set up a page recommending the most suitable mobile plans for seniors, etc.

About David Doherty

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6 Responses to If “Loneliness is ‘deadly for the elderly” isn’t it time we recognised the life saving potential of SMS?

  1. Helen Bates says:

    SeNCit awarded runner-up in Ideal Invention of the Year 2012 yesterday at Earls Court’s ‘Home of the Future’. Perhaps the message is beginning to filter through.

  2. Pingback: My thoughts: “mHealth: My Father’s First Cellphone and the Evolution of Risk” « mHealth Insight: the blog of 3G Doctor

  3. louloubee160 says:

    I love this idea, I recently bought my grandmother the SVC Tracfone, and I can now sms her regularly, It makes her happy to know someone is thinking of her.

  4. Susan says:

    lou lou i did that exact thing! The phone is absolutely great for my mother. I was so nervous about something happening to her if she slipped or fell and couldnt make it to her houseline. She was sooo anti cellphones and technology and for some reason she TOTALLY agrees with this phone. I highly reccomend it to any seniors out there or for parents or grandparents who are more hard of hearing and seeing. She can see the phone perfectly, its got huge buttons, great screen, hearing aid compatible. But the best part is the price- seven dollars a month. THATS IT.Its been a great thing for my family.

  5. Pingback: NeverSeconds II: One seniors daily dose of meals on wheels « mHealth Insight: the blog of 3G Doctor

  6. Pingback: Neil Versal: “I can’t imagine my 93-year-old grandmother ever having a smartphone” « mHealth Insight: the blog of 3G Doctor

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