A story came to light recently of an 85-year-old Chinese man who put himself up for adoption. His name was Han Zicheng and although he had survived the Japanese invasion, the Chinese Civil War and the Cultural Revolution, he could not endure the loneliness he felt living alone.

In an effort to ease his loneliness, Han put pen to paper and taped up signs to bus shelters and store windows asking for a family to take him in. While able-bodied and in good health, he was terrified of dying alone.

A woman saw him putting up one of his signs and took a picture which she shared on social media, helping spread the word. Han’s story was picked up by the media and phone calls and visits began to happen. While his story didn’t have the happy ending everyone would have hoped for – you can read more about it here – it is an important issue to bring to light.

A quarter of Canadian seniors live alone, increasing their chances of being lonely, socially isolated, and becoming depressed. A global concern, the UK has even appointed a Minister of Loneliness to deal with this epidemic, citing that approximately 200,000 British seniors have not had a conversation with a friend or relative in over a month. Based on stories such as Han’s and others from around the world, it is clear more needs to be done to help seniors age positively.

While there are options such as retirement and nursing homes, many seniors wish to age at home; and if they will be happiest at home, it can positively impact their overall health and well-being. However, that can only be the case with the right social support.

Amintro believes that just because you live alone, doesn’t mean you have to be alone. Creating a sense of community both online and in person, Amintro connects those 50 plus with like-minded people in order to foster new friendships and increase social circles. With this app, seniors can befriend those around the globe online as well as right in their own neighbourhood so they can also have face-to-face interactions and outings.

This is not a dating site! Amintro has developed a process, based on input from experts in the field of sociology as well as mature adults, that helps seniors build a safe, private online profile that reflects who they are as a friend, and what they consider important characteristics in their friends, based on personal experiences, likes and dislikes.

Everyone benefits from social interactions, friendship and a sense of community. If you or someone you know is looking to age in place but still get out in the community, meet new people and live life to the fullest join Amintro. Membership is free, and you can learn more about us, our community and how to become an Amintronian by following us on Twitter: @AmintroFriends, or liking us on Facebook: AmintroFriends.

By Christine Tompa