Overcoming isolation: The retail resource

9/7/2016

“One-in-4 people over age 45 in the United States is chronically lonely.”


(Click here to download the full Retail Health Summit special report.)



That sad statistic, taken from a survey by AARP and reported at the Retail Health Summit by health technology panelist Beth Sanders, should give all retail health providers pause, she said.



“People are dying of loneliness,” said Sanders, who is founder and CEO of Life Bio, an online communication platform for families that gives older Americans a way to share their stories and connect with others. “They need purpose and meaning.”



The sense of alienation and disconnection that afflicts many older people has real health implications, Sanders added. “People with higher feelings of purpose and meaning are 17% less hospitalized.”



By giving elderly people and their caregivers the tools to create a virtual community of sharing and caring, Life Bio is providing a resource for overcoming isolation and loneliness, Sanders noted. But Walmart and other retailers also have a big part to play, she said, by serving as community centers where people can connect with others.



“There’s so much opportunity in the store to develop this intense feeling of community,” Sanders asserted. “You see these people face to face. In the middle of nowhere, [seniors] can go to Walmart, and [they] want to spend some time there.”


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