• The Improved World of Technology and Senior Socialization

    The Improved World of Technology and Senior Socialization

It’s not uncommon for seniors to become easily overwhelmed with their attempts to keep up with the changes in technology. Even though having to stay current with the latest and greatest tech may be a pain, technology can really help seniors feel more connected to the rest of the world. There are many ways the tech world can influence senior life. Here is how technology and senior socialization are intertwined.

Technology and Senior Socialization

Senior Isolation

Social isolation in older adults is a serious problem that affects many people in the United States. According to the CDC, more than 25% of adults aged 65 and older feel lonely and are considered to be socially isolated. This puts older adults at a higher risk for certain health complications.

Health Risks of Isolation

There are many health risks of loneliness and social isolation, such as:

  • Social isolation increases the risk of premature death, akin to complications like smoking or obesity.
  • Isolation was associated with a 50% increase in dementia.
  • Poor social relationships are associated with a 29% increased risk of heart disease and a 32% higher risk of stroke.
  • Senior loneliness is associated with higher rates of depression, anxiety, and suicide.
  • Loneliness in seniors can increase the likelihood of death due to heart failure by 400%.

Fortunately, technology is helping seniors counteract these negative effects.

Seniors in Rural Areas

The advances in technology, over even just the last few years, play a transformative role in the fight against social isolation among older adults. This is especially true in rural communities. Rural communities often lack infrastructure for technology and can hinder one from taking advantage of what the digital world has to offer. Additionally, the number of senior Americans living in rural areas is expected to increase from 8.6 million to 14.6 million. And more than half of those will experience social isolation which leads to loneliness.

Roughly, 1 in 5 seniors live in rural areas, making this an obstacle for this particular demographic. Though many older adults in rural areas can’t take advantage of the digital benefits of technology, things like telehealth make it possible for seniors in rural areas to talk to a doctor on the phone for non-emergency visits alleviating the need to travel to a physician’s office. This is why it is so important for seniors to stay involved with technological developments. Here is how you can take action:

  • Stay Informed: Whether asking your grandkids or reading the news, stay up to date on the daily advances of technology.
  • Stay Connected: Find new ways to stay connected to your family and friends (see Staying Connected in the next section).

Staying Connected

With the advent of cellphones, email, and social media it is easier than ever to stay connected. Additionally, platforms like Zoom and Facetime are also seeing a major bump in use from an older demographic. In fact, 69% of older adults use social media apps. In light of the negative effects of loneliness and the benefits of connectivity, consider the following apps to help you stay connected to your loved ones:

Apps

  • Skype: This is one of the most popular apps for video chatting. It’s free and downloadable to a mobile device, laptop, or desktop.
  • FaceTime: This is an iPhone-specific app and can only be used by iPhone users. FaceTime is free and used for video calls. Additionally, you can have group calls and leave messages.
  • Marco Polo: A relatively new addition to the digital world, this app is similar to texting but with video. Users can record a video and send it to a contact. That person can then watch it and respond with their own video. It allows users the benefit of video without the time constraint to be free at the same time. It is free and easy to download.
  • Facebook Messenger: Available through Facebook, this app allows users to chat, send video, or make an audio call. It is free and available in most app stores.
  • WhatsApp: This is another messaging service that enables users to send audio, text, video messages, and share images. 

You’ve learned about technology and senior socialization. Want to learn about staying connected? Check out our article about connecting to the next generation.

Concord Reserve is a continuing care retirement community in Westlake, Ohio, independent living apartments, assisted living, rehab services, and more. We’re focused on supporting the vibrant and active lifestyles of our residents so they can age well. For more information, contact Concord Reserve online or at 440-871-0090.

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