How often are older adults receiving random acts of kindness? Are phone calls or letters more impactful? What is considered lonely or socially isolated?
We recently conducted a survey among seniors 75+ to gauge just how often they received acts of kindness and what acts they considered to be most meaningful to them. To measure the loneliness of each individual surveyed, we used the Revised UCLA Loneliness Scale. The results showed that seniors who scored better on the scale (less lonely) were more receptive of kind acts and found them more meaningful.
Lonely or not, most respondents said they found acts that required no money – or extensive effort – to be the most meaningful acts, with nearly a fourth (21%) preferring a visit from a friend or family member. Though most said they hadn’t received a greeting card or letter in the past two months, 84% found the gesture to be “very” meaningful.
Notable Acts of Kindness survey responses
• Casual phone calls (83%) and compliments (78%) were the most received acts of kindness received
• Unexpected gifts ranked last (5%) for preferred acts of kindness
• 7 in 10 said they experience acts of kindness weekly or more
• 51% have received an act of kindness in the past two month
No Kindness Too Small
With so much going on in the world, it can feel like one person is incapable of making a difference. But that’s just not true – not even a little bit. Simple acts of kindness – such as hand waves, hellos, or compliments -- are easy wins that can create a domino effect of happiness for others. We found in our survey that 2/3 of senior respondents found pen pal letters as a great way to stay connected – with 51% saying it gives them a way to share what’s going on in life.
We encourage you to spread joy to seniors in your community!