The wintertime in Minnetonka can be especially difficult for seniors that live alone. With weather conditions often making travel more difficult, many seniors begin to feel isolated, lonely, and bored. The decreased interaction and the inability to come and go at will can have a negative impact on seniors’ mental and emotional health. To help combat some of the isolating effects of winter and to help seniors expand their horizons, caregivers or family member can introduce elderly individuals to technology or help them to understand how to use some of the different websites and functions.
Seniors and Technology
Over the past few years, seniors have become the fastest growing segment of online users. Many seniors already own computers, laptops, tablets, and Smartphones, having purchased the equipment or received it as a gift. For seniors that have online access but do not understand how to use it to connect, caregivers and family members can help seniors get on the internet and navigate to different websites, watching and providing instruction to be sure that seniors can complete the steps when alone. Family members or caregivers may also help to make going online as easy as possible for seniors by catering to specific needs, such as getting a touch screen laptop for seniors with arthritis that have difficulty using a mouse or keyboard.
Social Networking and Skype
Facebook is currently the most popular social media website for older adults. Many are delighted to log on and find that old classmates, family members, and friends have profiles. Social media is a fun way for seniors to keep in touch when traveling is not an option and allows seniors to view pictures of their friends and families as well as stay in communication. Skype provides the same kind of visual reassurance that can help to diminish feelings of loneliness more than just a phone call or email-style communication.
News and Information
In addition to helping seniors stay connected to diminish feelings of winter isolation, seniors may find that the internet is a superior source for news and information than other mediums. Many of the older adults that are currently online cite YouTube as the preferred online video site and use Google to find information about current events and to research topics of interest. After becoming familiar and comfortable with using the internet, seniors can find entertainment, discover ways to improve health and manage medical conditions, and enjoy many other benefits from being online. In some cases, becoming connected can help improve seniors’ overall quality of life.