Of all of the difficulties that have come with the COVID-19 global pandemic, social isolation may be the most difficult one for many seniors. Whether seniors are living at home, in assisted living communities, or with their families, protecting physical health means restricting visitors. Unfortunately, this isolation can contribute to mental health struggles such as depression. That is why it is so important to help seniors harness the power of social media and technology to keep them connected with the rest of the world.
- Social Media. One of the best ways to keep seniors connected is to get them involved in social media. While plenty of seniors may find Twitter, Snapchat, or Instagram easy-to-use, Facebook is a great social media go-to for older people. It is easy to use, the stories do not disappear, and it can easily be limited to friend and family groups. It also allows for asynchronous communication, which can be important if family is spread across the globe or keeps different schedules.
- Live Chats. Another way that seniors can stay connected with their family is with live chats. There are plenty of kinds of technology that allow for video chats, but the easiest to use may just be simple cell phone communications. If you want to be able to have a larger family gathering with video chatting capabilities, you may need to use something like Zoom.
- Playing Games. Just like everyone else, seniors are going a little stir crazy. Technology can offer them games to play to help occupy them while social distancing.
While most seniors can master using technology, setting it up can be a challenge. If possible, we recommend that a loved one set up a communication device to make it easy-to-use. If a senior does not have a smartphone or other device, you can purchase a versatile tablet, such as a Kindle Fire, for under $100, and set it up for social media, video chatting, and games.