Apr 1, 2015 by Ron L'Heureux
For a growing number of seniors, the Internet and social media such as Facebook and Twitter are proving to be vital links to family and friends.
Sure, online technology may fall far short of chatting on a porch swing. But at Comfort Keepers® home care of Orange, & Fullerton CA, our in-home senior caregivers are seeing how the Internet and social media help seniors stay up-to-date with their children and grandchildren, and keep in touch with friends. And it provides family who live far away another way to check in with their loved ones.
In 2012, the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project reported that 53 percent of Americans age 65 and over were online. That’s a steep climb from 14 percent in 2000, the first year Pew measured Internet usage, and from 41 percent in 2011.
The 2012 Pew study also found that 33 percent of online seniors use social media, compared to only 13 percent in 2009.
Those statistics, however, may not be as significant as ones discovered in a study conducted by Shelia Cotten, a sociology professor at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. Her study, published in the March 2012 edition of the journal Computers in Human Behavior, found that seniors who are regular Internet users are 20 to 28 percent less likely to be depressed.
Why? Cotton believes this has to do with the connection and sense of community that the Internet provides.
Even so, many seniors resist jumping online. Talk of privacy issues is intimidating. And there’s the concern that online communication is too complex, compared to, say, writing a letter or picking up a phone and dialing (to use an archaic term).
Many senior centers and libraries such as Orange County Public Libraries offer basic classes to help seniors ease into Internet usage. Besides helping seniors set up accounts and adjust privacy settings to their comfort level, such classes cover the essentials, like posting status updates or tweets and downloading photos.
In some cases, our in-home senior caregivers—Comfort Keepers—may be able to help their clients set up and begin using social media. After all, involvement in social media with family and friends is right in line with Comfort Keepers’ philosophy of in-home senior care, Interactive Caregiving™, which emphasizes keeping seniors mentally, physically and socially active for optimal health.
Mastering a new skill like social media is an excellent way for seniors to keep an active mind as they add a new spin on their social life.
Comfort Keepers can help maintain you or your senior loved one’s independence in a number of ways. To find out if there’s a care plan that fits your needs, call or contact our local office today! Our staff can set up a free in-home care assessment to figure out what services would serve you best.