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COVID19: Technological Solutions to Tackle Isolation and Loneliness
Covid19 is a collective challenge that we all face, and social isolation and loneliness are big national issues we must address. Although loneliness is particularly prevalent among older people, loneliness can also affect people of all ages.  Human touch and connection is so important, even though that connection is not physical, tech can help to reduce this.

As part of the global effort, the IET is keen to help identify potential solutions across its national and international engineering networks that could help our governments solve problems and innovations that help to counter the ill effects of social isolation and loneliness, including providing mental health support and meeting social care needs.

We are keen to hear case-study exemplars and your thoughts on opportunities and challenges regarding the following areas:
  • Social Isolation
  • Remote working
  • Remote care (Technologies for healthy ageing, eldercare, dementia, end-of-life)
  • Mental Health (Technologies for wellness and mental health)
  • Childcare at home (Technologies for education, exercise, self-care)
Additionally, if you would like to volunteer your expertise and be consulted further in these areas above please email healthcare@theiet.org.
 
4 Replies
Zoomup
1761 Posts
"Pets At Home" is doing a good trade at present. A loving fury pet is a good companion and helps humans to keep positive and active. Dogs, cats and hamsters are just some good examples of pals for humans. 

Z.
Lisa Miles
1249 Posts
Not exactly a technological solution but I am becoming increasingly envious of dog and cat owners at the moment. 😔 

One thing I am extremely grateful for is the ability to video call/conference with my friends, family and colleagues during this time. Can you imagine how isolated we would feel if this occurred before the dawn of the internet, social media, smart phones or video calling? 

As some of my colleagues will confirm, I'm a big 'hugger' so I've had to resort to sending a virtual 'hug' to those who I'd normally physically hug. Luckily Skype has the perfect emoji for that of a small animated teddy bear giving a hug. It would be great though if you could buy an AI teddy bear that would give you a physical hug if one of your friends/family sent one. 😊
Zoomup
1761 Posts
Keep it simple. Even simple things like caring for plants inside or outside is very beneficial. Grow some cress from seed. It is easy and children love to do so. When mature the cress (Lepidium Sativum is the curly type)  can be eaten. Also just feeding wild birds can be  very rewarding. They will return again and again to see you. They will visit gardens, balconies or just your garage roof etc. Even just taking care of a gold fish is good for us. Simple hobbies that engage us is good for our mental health. 

Personally I keep small cacti on window sills. They are easy to keep, are very robust and occasionally flower if they are happy.

Regarding technology I enjoy researching things on the internet. There are so many marvellous lectures and instructional videos online. It is like an open college. Marvellous.

Z.
Kathryn Bain
370 Posts
I wonder if there are lessons that could be learned from the great work of Temple Grandin.  Whilst we can't all have a squeeze box/hug machine in our houses, I think the requirement for personal contact and physical touch is something that all humans need.  Probably a lot we can learn from those who process the world in a different way and have been coming up with innovative coping mechanisms for years.

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