By Allison Sadlier // SWNS


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 that this population is also craving time with family (48%), their “regular” routines (40%), and their freedom (51%).

The study, conducted by OnePoll on behalf of Comfort Keepers, polled 2,000 Americans, 1,000 of whom were 65 and older. The survey 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 eighty-seven percent 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 have 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 ten 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 pivot 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. 

A spokesperson for Comfort Keepers said, “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.  

Carl McManus added, “Experiencing joy and laughter have been clinically proven to improve mental health and overall well-being. 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’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.


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