Older Americans say they miss hugs from friends and family during COVID-19 lockdown

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A new survey by OnePoll, on behalf of Comfort Keepers, found that fifty-seven percent of older Americans are eagerly awaiting the chance to embrace a loved one as soon as they can. (Photo by Rod Long on Unsplash)

It examined the emotional effects of isolation during a pandemic and the ways respondents have continued to find joy in spite of the “new normal.”

Half of Americans 65 and over confessed to missing the physical intimacy of hugs during COVID-19, a new survey revealed.

Fifty-seven percent are eagerly awaiting the chance to embrace a loved one as soon as they can.

The survey also showed respondents 65 and over are craving time with family (48%), their “regular” routines (40%) and their freedom (51%).

Conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Comfort Keepers, the survey polled 2,000 Americans, 1,000 of whom were 65 and older.

It examined the emotional effects of isolation during a pandemic and the ways respondents have continued to find joy in spite of the “new normal.”

The study revealed that 87% of those surveyed found self-care as a key ingredient to infuse their daily isolation routine with a bit of joy.

Three in five felt that talking to their family provided a little happiness boost.

One in two respondents has been soothed by the comfort of watching a familiar, favorite movie, while two in five are spending time in nature (44%) or reading an engaging book to escape (44%).

For those over 65, social interaction plays a vital role in staying positive. Seven in 10 respondents look to chats with family as a part of their self-care and 64% also rely on regular ‘check-in’ calls with friends.

With 91% saying it’s a top priority for them to stay in touch with their family and friends during COVID-19, it’s no wonder technology has played a pivotal part.

Seventy-two percent would even go so far as to say technology has brought them joy during the pandemic.

The average respondent has had five video chats in the past week and older Americans are jumping into the new digital communications landscape as well ‒ the average respondent 65 and older had three video chat sessions in the past week.

Video chats aren’t the only way respondents are staying in touch. Nearly four in five (78%) are gabbing on the phone and 62% are sending text messages back and forth.

Thirty-eight percent are trading social media posts and 17% are still communicating the old-fashioned way ‒ via physical mail.

“The new, isolated world we’ve all had to adjust to has certainly been challenging, particularly for the older generation who often rely on physical contact with friends and loved ones to help them with their daily routines,” said Carl McManus, Chief Executive Officer, Comfort Keepers, North America.

“It is encouraging to know that, in spite of the pandemic and new way of life, people are still finding ways to experience and spread joy.”

There are certain people guaranteed to bring smiles to respondents’ faces.

Three in five (63%) have a friend who lifts them up, while 54% look to their daughter or son (51%) to make them smile.

A third of respondents find joy through a sister and 32% have a member of their extended family like an uncle or cousin who lifts them up.

“Experiencing joy and laughter have been clinically proven to improve mental health and overall well-being,” added McManus. “Even though our daily activities have changed, the quest for finding joy and happiness in everyday moments has not.

“Hopefully, as the world evolves closer to how it once was, people will still rely on and remember the ‘simple things’ that bring them joy.”

As social distancing restrictions begin to lift, older Americans have a definite list of things that bring them joy that they’ll want to check off.

Seventy-eight percent can’t wait to dig into a meal at a restaurant and 76% are anxious to spend time in-person with their loved ones.

Two in five can’t wait to browse a store and shop, while one in five is excited to wet their whistle at a bar.

TOP SELF-CARE ACTIVITIES THAT CAUSE JOY
Talking to family 59%
Watching a favorite movie 52%
Catching up with friends 52%
Time spent in nature 44%
Reading a good book 44%
Exercise 43%
Watching a sunset 41%
Cooking 34%
Taking a bath 31%
Swimming 27%
Meditation 23%
Putting on a favorite outfit 23%
Stretching 20%
Putting on makeup 15%
CBD products 10%

TOP SELF-CARE ACTIVITIES THAT CAUSE JOY FOR RESPONDENTS 65+
Talking to family 70%
Catching up with friends 64%
Watching a favorite movie 60%
Reading a good book 56%
Time spent in nature 53%
Watching a sunset 53%
Exercise 41%
Cooking 36%
Taking a bath 19%
Swimming 18%
Meditation 16%
Stretching 15%
Putting on a favorite outfit 13%
Putting on makeup 8%
CBD products 1%

METHODS OF COMMUNICATION
Phone call 78%
Text message 62%
Email 52%
Video chat 49%
Social media 38%
Physical mail 17%

METHODS OF COMMUNICATION 65+
Phone call 88%
Email 65%
Text messaging 64%
Video chat 39%
Social media 24%
Physical mail 11%

ACTIVITIES RESPONDENTS ARE EXCITED TO DO AFTER COVID-19 65+
Go out to dinner 78%
See family and friends 76%
Travel 71%
Make plans to see someone physically 58%
Hug a loved one 57%
Go shopping 41%
Go to the movies 30%
Go to the beach 29%
Food shopping 26%
Get a drink at a bar 20%

>> Download the video & infographic for this research story <<
NOTE: All news copy and multimedia on this SWNS account is free to use as you see fit. Where research has been conducted, we ask that you credit the company which commissioned it.

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