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Social Media Trend: PaPaw and Social Isolation

Last week, a single post by twitter user Kelsey Harmon shook the internet with a photo of her grandfather looking sad and disappointed after 5 out of 6 grandkids failed to show up for a dinner that he prepared himself.

This tweet that got retweeted more than 170,000 times and liked almost 285,000 times since last week has elicited some interesting reactions from users.

Some remembered their own Papaws in their lives

Some wanted to see the story from another angle

Some got really creative

One thing is for sure, many of us felt sad for Papaw which begs the question, how lonely he must have felt at that time.

Loneliness and Social Isolation doesn't necessarily mean that your older relatives are alone. They can feel lonely even in the company of family, friends and caregivers. The frequency of disappointments and cases of Social Isolation and loneliness is dangerous to an older person's health.

Among older adults, Social isolation can increase an individual's likelihood of developing dementia by 64% and increase their likelihood of dying earlier by 45%. Individuals that have strong relationships and frequent contact with family and friends are 50% less likely to die in the same period.

It's a good thing that Papaw is having more people around him. Just recently, one of the 5 grandkids who didn't make it to the dinner posted that Papaw is having a cookout and the whole internet is invited.

If there's one thing that we learned from social media's response to this viral phenomenon, people have great care and sympathy for older people however, it's one for us to say things on social media. What matters most is how we show our appreciation for our grandparents offline.

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