The world has certainly become smaller more now than ever before since the advent of the Internet and smart phones. It’s now easier than ever to stay connected with friends and family from a distance. For seniors who may be homebound or experiencing periods of isolation, tapping into online resources like Facebook, Twitter, and Skype can provide a breath of new life and social engagement--and have a huge impact on a senior's sense of belonging and purpose.
Here are just a few ways social media is changing the lives of seniors:
1. Helps Keep Families Closer: Many older adults wish they heard more often from their loved ones. Facebook is a great way to keep up with family and friends on a more frequent basis. It also helps to deepen relationships by stimulating more frequent conversations between the generations. Skype is also a wonderful tool for older adults, allowing online video conversations with loved ones near or far.
2. Improved Feelings of Wellbeing: Seniors who live mostly isolated lives and far away from their family and friends often experience depression. A study by Dr. Shelia Cotten, a sociologist and associate professor from the University of Alabama, Birmingham, revealed that Internet use was associated with a 30 percent decrease in depressive symptoms among older adults who used it regularly, while other studies have shown similarly impressive results.
3. Social Photo and Video Sharing: Sharing pictures and videos is now easier than ever through social media. Pictures can be shared via Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and other social media sites. Grandparents can see photos of the grandchildren moments after they are taken, helping them to feel more a part of events they may not be able to attend.
4. Community Belonging: Socializing as part of a community can be critical for home-bound older adults. Social media provides the opportunity to have and be a friend, to congregate without leaving the house, and to never have to feel alone.
Although social media is an incredible tool to allow older adults to stay socially connected, there’s still no replacement for in-person interactions and relationships. Home care companies such as ours can help fill in the social gaps for older adults by offering warm companionship, together with a full range of other home care services, tailored to meet each person’s unique needs. Give us a call at 866-464-2344 to let us know if we can help fill in the times when a family member can't be there to assist their loved ones.