Using Technology to Eliminate Loneliness in the Elderly

loneliness in the elderly

While winter is the season when people of all ages feel more lonely and cooped up due to the weather, for the elderly, loneliness is not just limited to winter. Loneliness can be a major problem all year round. With decreased mobility, less community engagement, and fewer visits from friends and loved ones, seniors can be left feeling forgotten and alone, which commonly leads to depression.

Fortunately, with today’s technology, there are more options for seniors to stay active, take part in the community, and maintain relationships with loved ones. Through social media and a variety of technological tools, the elderly can stay in touch with family and friends and feel more connected to the world as a whole.

Staying in Touch Through Social Media

Social media provides a way for seniors to connect with friends and family. It is also a way to meet new friends from around the world or to connect with long-lost acquaintances.

According to the latest Pew Research report on seniors and social media:

“Usage among those 65 and older has more than tripled since 2010, when 11% used social media. Today, 35% of all those 65 and older report using social media, compared with just 2% in 2005.”

Social Media Primer for the Elderly

But what exactly is social media? Well, social media is defined as online social communication. This communication takes different forms. Through Twitter, it takes the form of short messages (140 characters only) called tweets. Facebook allows the posting of pictures and longer-form status updates. Instagram and Pinterest are places where people post images and YouTube is a place where people publish videos.

With social media skills, seniors can not only communicate with and reach their friends and family, but they can also stay connected to the world.

Facebook is the most used social media platform. It allows connection with friends, families, and groups. Users can follow their favorite celebrities, news outlets, and loved ones to stay connected and up-to-date on what’s happening in everyone’s lives.

Twitter is for those who like to say things in a few words. For those who don’t like to type, or just want to say a short comment, Twitter is for you. If you want to connect with other Twitter users on a particular topic, use the “#” when searching for groups, such as #seniorcitizens or #recipes, to find others who are discussing that topic.

LinkedIn is a place to showcase online resumes and professional information. It is a place primarily for those who are still working. If someone is only semi-retired and still wants to connect with the business world, LinkedIn is a good social media network to join.

Video Chatting

Another technological tool that can make the elderly feel less lonely is online video chatting. Using any device that has a web-enabled camera, seniors can talk face to face with their friends and family. Applications like Facetime, Skype, and Google Hangouts are all easy to use and can be set up on smartphones, tablets, or computers.

Video chatting offers a more personal and intimate way to chat with loved ones and is the next best thing to actually seeing them in person. This can be an especially great tool if children and grandchildren are spread out across the country or globe. Even if loved ones aren’t able to come visit in person, they can connect through video chat with the click of a mouse.

Of course, social media and technology aren’t replacements for real human interaction and care. If you need help caring for and accompanying an elderly loved one, it may be time to seek the help of an in-home health care agency. At David York Agency, we provide a variety of personal health care services that support both the mental and physical wellness of the elderly and infirmed.

For more information about David York Agency’s qualified, compassionate home caregivers, contact us at 718.376.7755. A free phone consultation can help you decide what services might be best to provide you with the assistance you loved one needs as he or she ages. If you’d like to hear more from us, please like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, Google+ or LinkedIn.