The world has certainly gotten smaller since the advent of the Internet, and it’s easier than ever before to stay connected with friends and family at 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 their sense of belonging and purpose. Here are just a few ways social media is changing the lives of seniors:
- 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 a great tool for older adults, allowing online video conversations with loved ones near or far.
- Improved Feelings of Wellbeing: Older adults who live mostly isolated lives and far away from loved ones 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.
- Social Photo and Video Sharing: Sharing memories 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.
- Community Belonging: Socializing as part of a community can be critical for homebound 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.
While social media is a wonderful tool to help your senior loved ones stay socially connected, there’s still no replacement for face-to-face interactions and relationships. Visiting Angels helps fill in the social gaps for seniors by providing warm companionship along with a full range of San Francisco area home care services, individualized to meet each person’s unique needs. Complete our simple online contact form to let us know how we can help you.