Connect with us

OC Helper

Using the Internet with Your Senior Patients



Using the Internet with Your Senior Patients

The Advantages of Web Surfing in the Older Generation

According to a study by the University of Lancaster in the United Kingdom, many seniors can benefit from using the Internet. Their research showed that retirees who used the Internet frequently scored higher on cognitive tests (e.g., memory, attention span, problem-solving) than those that didn’t. Additionally, those that used computers towards the end of their working years, like financers, were more likely to have better cognitive abilities.

When people retire, their brain starts slowing down as there are no longer workplace tasks to keep their minds stimulated. The experts say that using the Internet is a good way to improve brain health and mental stimulation in their generation.

For example, many of our Los Angeles hospice patients love to watch videos on YouTube, learn or develop skills in cooking, baking, and home repairing, connect with others on social media, play computer games, and read informative websites like Wikipedia.

So, if you feel like the Internet could be a good thing for your loved one, why not give it a shot?

Is Social Media for Seniors a Good Idea?

According to research by Statista and Sproutsocial, many users 65+ years and above have started signing up for social media platforms. They comprise 6.3% of Facebook’s user base, for example, 7% on Twitter, and 18% on Pinterest.

There are several reasons why they’ve started doing so, the most prominent of which is not wanting to feel left out. With so many people on social media platforms these days, it’s easy to get left behind and not updated on the world. Seniors look to social media to find out what their family members, friends, and other loved ones are up to and also document what’s going on in their lives.

They also use social media in place of real-life interactions. With so many hurdles like COVID-19, physical distance, and disabilities going on, it’s difficult for them to meet up with other people. Thus, meeting up online is the next best thing.

Of course, there are pitfalls to social media. Like the younger generations, seniors might think other lives are more fulfilling than theirs and try to maintain an image online. They also fall victim to algorithms and such—if all they see is fake news and flame wars, then they’re more likely to be emotionally and mentally affected by it.

So, social media can be a good thing! However, as you do with children, you need to supervise your loved one’s social media intake and make sure they’re not seeing anything harmful to them.

How Can Family Members Help?

With constant upgrades and innovations, even the most tech-savvy retirees will run into some problems with technology. Here’s how you can help:

Pick Out the Right Gadgets

Go easy on your loved ones—they grew up in a time that never had fancy gadgets like cellphones and tablets. It’ll take time to adjust to technological advancements, especially when their minds aren’t as spry as they used to be.

So, when you’re out shopping for new gizmos, make sure the gadget isn’t super complicated. Chances are your loved ones are only going to make calls, send messages, and browse the web, not build a website from scratch. Optimize the features before you hand it over, too—make the text larger, the notifications louder, and the apps easier to discern. This will help them figure out their new plaything much quicker!

Keep Them Safe

The older generation is likeliest to fall prey to malicious things like scam calls, viruses, misinformation, and other kinds of cybercrime.

Download antiviruses on all gadgets to help block out malware. Also, help your loved ones recognize anything suspicious and have them contact you or another trusted person if they’re not sure about something. Tell them that not everything on the Internet is trustworthy and to take things with a grain of salt.

Have Fun with Them!

Now that your loved ones are in the online world with you, it’s time to have some fun.

Send them links to websites they might find interesting. My grandmother, for example, is a huge fan of cats and has taken to spending hours on YouTube every day watching cat videos. My grandfather, on the other hand, regrets not traveling the world when he was younger. With VR and AR now available, he can visit any country he likes and find out more about their culture. 

You can discover new things together!

You can also have your loved ones join in on your online gaming sessions. There are plenty of games out there, ranging from video games, card games, and board games, that can help keep their minds fresh and entertained. It’s also great fun for the entire family. Might I recommend Codenames or Scribl?

There are a whole lot of things you can do on the Internet to spend time with them!

Don’t Forget Real Life

While the Internet may be a fun, new experience for them to try, let’s not forget to do things with them in person too. Humans need companionship, and you shouldn’t treat the Internet as a replacement for real-life interactions.

Head on over to our center of hospice and palliative care in Los Angeles to visit your loved ones every once in a while. They would love the company, and it would be a nice change from their regular routines.

Also, remember that just because they know how to use the Internet now doesn’t mean they want to do it all the time. So, put the gadgets away when you or any of your other family members are with them. Focus on being together while they’re still around.

Continue Reading
You may also like...

More in Entertainment


Recent Posts

To Top