Social media has become a powerful tool for meeting new people around-the-world, or staying in touch with friends and family members. Many Americans aged 65-and-over are homebound due to a chronic illness, disability or other reasons that makes it harder for them to interact with others.
If you’re serving as a caregiver for a homebound senior, showing them how to more effectively use social media is one way to ensure a higher quality-of-life. In fact, sociologists have studied the positive impact of social media on seniors, and here’s what they found.
Why Seniors Become Socially Isolated
A common problem in the elderly, social isolationism typically results from one or more of these issues:
- Loneliness caused by the death of a spouse or close friend
- Depression due to a chronic medical condition
- Difficulty accepting and coping with the aging process
- Feeling dissatisfied and bored after retirement
- Stress brought on by financial difficulties
- Moving to another town, or struggling to deal with adult children who’ve moved away
- Having to rely on caregivers to perform activities of daily living
Once your loved one has become socially isolated, continuing down that road can trigger more serious health problems, including a greater likelihood for developing the type of dementia that’s associated with Alzheimer’s. If it’s hard for them to get out of the house because of physical limitations, social media can be an invaluable morale-boosting resource.
Identify Their Social Media Objectives
There are numerous social media platforms available, including Facebook, Twitter and YouTube. Helping your loved one set up an account on the right one(s) depends on whether-or-not they want to use social media for:
- Staying connected with family and friends
- Keeping up with what’s new in the community
- Finding online discounts and deals from businesses
- Learning about healthcare providers and innovations
- Other hobbies/interests they might have
- Interacting with others daily or on a less-frequent basis
Once you’ve got your loved one “connected” to one or more social networks, it’s time to sit back and watch how it can be a game changer for their health and wellbeing. You can even start by trying one platform at first. Facebook is popular with seniors and accomplishes all the above goals.
How Social Media Benefits Seniors
Based on research, these are some of the main ways social media benefits seniors:
Staying Connected with Family
Today’s families are more geographically spread out than ever before. As your loved one’s kids and grandkids move away, social media allows them to stay connected and current in their lives. Photos and highlights from birthday parties, weddings, graduations and other important events can be shared within seconds with a senior to make them feel loved and appreciated.
How many stories in the media have you read about long-lost schoolmates or military buddies reuniting on Facebook? Social media is a great way for seniors to cultivate new friendships built around common interests. It’s also a great tool to share memories with old friends. And, a feature like Facetime just makes the interaction all that more enjoyable!
Laughing at a new joke, reliving the past through clips of old TV shows and movies, playing games or reading news articles are all now possible through social media.
Social media makes seniors aware of continuing education opportunities out in the community. Many social media sites are committed to keeping members updated about new scientific breakthroughs, current events and the world in general. And, learning new things at any age keeps the mind sharper.
Inspires Civic Pride
Social media can also inspire generational movements and raise awareness about important issues. Engaging on social media can help your senior be actively involved with these civic movements, filling them with a sense of purpose and pride.
We Love Helping In-Home Seniors Stay More Active
Keeping an at-home elderly loved one active and socially engaged when you have your own household to manage or live far away can be hard. When you need a hand, call Optimal Senior Care Solutions. We are a fully licensed and insured home care agency, with carefully screened and highly trained caregivers. We specialize in providing seniors with the social interaction they deserve so they can continue aging comfortably in place.
In addition to companionship, our family trusted, in-home services include light housekeeping, personal hygiene, meals, medication reminders and transportation. And, all our affordable amenities can be individually packaged to put you mind at ease. To learn more about Optimal Senior Care Solutions today, or to schedule an in-home assessment for your senior, please visit: OptimalSeniorCareSolutions.com now!