How Technology is Good For Connecting Seniors with Loved Ones
The year-long battle with the coronavirus disease left people with no choice but to adapt and create a “new normal.” One of the most significant aspects of this new set-up is the technological innovations that ensure people’s safety as they try to regain a sense of normalcy.
Doctors came up with telemedicine to continue healthcare services virtually. Schools opted to do online classes instead of face-to-face ones. Many employees now work from their homes to keep their jobs and the economy afloat.
More importantly, technology played a huge role in keeping families connected during this pandemic—especially seniors who have been living away, in a nursing home, or an assisted living facility.
Benefits of Technology to the Social Health and Life of Seniors
Technology also found a way to make life easier, safer, and more convenient for seniors. There are now various innovative health apps to help seniors track their health and fitness condition. An automated device can also manage your medications for you; one click and it will dispense all ten medicines at the right time and dosage.
Further, technology had been taking care of our dear seniors even before this pandemic started. From automatic wheelchairs and fall-prevention devices to AI-powered caregiving, technology really has it all.
However, let us not forget one of the most important benefits of technology to seniors–connecting them to friends and loved ones.
Here’s why technology is the best tool to get you socially connected. Plus, we will provide you with different online activity suggestions that you can do with your family!
1. Attend Virtual Gatherings and Parties
Due to aging, seniors have a weakened immune function. Thus, making them more vulnerable to COVID-19. So, being cooped up in your assisted living home this time of the month might not be a part of your plans, but it’s for your safety.
The good news is that you can still attend family gatherings and other parties virtually! Make it exciting and real by setting up themes like a pajama party or a cocktail night. Every virtual guest should dress up based on the theme and have their own healthy plates of appetizers and drinks.
Staying connected through the internet will help you keep your social and emotional well-being healthy. Some specific examples include:
- Helping you cope with pandemic stress.
- Allowing you to socialize and fill your social meter.
- Brings pleasant feelings, such as happiness and enjoyment.
- Giving an opportunity to feel seen and connected.
2. Have Real-Time Communications
Nothing can ever replace the blissful feeling of bonding with your grandkids and loved ones. But with the current health crisis, being able to talk and see each other in real-time on computer screens is already a blessing.
Communication and video chat apps like Skype, Facebook, and Zoom make it possible for you to contact your loved ones without compromising your health. You can catch up with distant friends, sing goodnight to your grandkids, and even have late-night conversations with your special someone.
With a handy device and internet connection, you can stay up-to-date with your loved ones’ life happenings. If you have trouble familiarizing yourself with your device or app, you can ask an assisted living staff member to guide you through it.
Also, they can help you with the technical stuff, like connecting to the internet or downloading your app.
3. Tends to Your Social Groups and Activities
Currently, health authorities discourage mass gatherings, especially for social groups and religious services. Further, attending such events increases your risk of acquiring the disease.
However, you can still attend social activities and join your group’s weekly meetings online. Stay in touch with them by accessing their virtual rooms and conferences. Some of the activities you can participate in include:
- Attending a pastor’s sermon or other church services like bible studies or couple’s preaching.
- Join in your fitness group’s virtual workout sessions. Also, you can stream online exercises on Youtube for free. Just share your screen with your workout buddies, and you’re all set.
- Continue the cooking classes you have been taking online.
- Set a virtual meeting with your book club members on Zoom. You can discuss and share your thoughts through a video conference. In addition, you can buy novels even without going out. Just go to Amazon or the nearest bookstore’s website, place an order, and have your book delivered right to your doorstep.
4. Meet Like-Minded People
Assisted living homes have strict visitation policies during the pandemic. It’s likely that you have not been able to see your family properly, much less have the opportunity to meet new people.
So, to help widen your social circle, you can use the internet to meet peers and like-minded seniors out there. You can join online book clubs in Goodreads and chat with your newfound friends. Also, you can join different groups on Facebook like a knitting group, mental health advocate’s group, dog-loving groups, and charities.
There are many social networking sites where you can meet and talk virtually with other seniors. But, make sure never to give out personal, financial, and additional important information about you. Let it be a harmless and socially fulfilling conversation.
5. Prevent Senior Isolation
The pandemic not only threatens the physical health of older adults. It also endangers their mental well-being.
Seniors are already prone to social isolation and extreme loneliness, especially those living in assisted living communities. This is also true for seniors with health conditions, dementia, hearing loss, and those living alone.
With quarantine and social distancing protocols, you will likely feel extra isolated from the outside world. But don’t let the dark grey clouds overpower your mind—power through this social isolation by staying connected to your loved ones virtually.
Further, there are online webinars and support groups for seniors experiencing mental and social difficulties during the pandemic. Also, don’t hesitate to inform your assisted living caregiver of what you are currently going through.
Technology has numerous benefits, even to the not-so techy generation of older adults. You just need to have enough discipline and vigilance to maintain a good relationship with it.