Connecting with a friend, seeing photos of the grandkids, or playing a word game with a distant are just a few of the many ways to use to stay socially active and engaged.
refers to or websites that connect individuals with others. The goal of is to connect us with those that we don’t see regularly and helps to preserve, as well as build relationships.
For caregivers and , can be a bridge to the rest of the community and have positive impacts on emotional and physical .
has five major benefits on the lives of . Here, we’ll discuss the ways in which can positively impact your ’s life.
One of the greatest challenges of aging is the increased risk of isolation.
Similarly, younger adults who identify as caregivers are also more prone to isolation due to the responsibilities associated with caring for their . They may have limited time or lack the ability to leave their alone and not have access to respite options.
has the power to be a tool to reduce isolation in both and caregivers by connecting people with others both near and far. Through such as Facebook, individuals can connect with , friends, and community members - commonly referred to as “ ”. They can share photos, updates, and even events with one another.
During the COVID-19
, people also began to take advantage of joining events virtually, broadening the opportunity for and caregivers to participate in family events, regardless of their ability to leave the home in .
While we want to be cautious about the information that we are ingesting on , can be an opportunity to learn more about a disease your may have, as well as gain the support of others in similar situations.
Online support groups can be great opportunities to learn about a disease, share experiences and resources, and gain emotional support to cope with the challenges of caregiving.
Through joining virtual caregiver support groups, caregivers can build their
in ways they may not have been able to without .
Do you like word games? If so, you’re in luck.
offers many games like word games like Words with Friends and a number of puzzles to help keep your mind active.
Some healthy competition with friends can keep you and your connected and give you both something to do together, even from a distance.
Even online, games and puzzles can keep your mind stimulated and engaged. There are so many options to choose from to meet your and your
’s interests. If you’re looking to get physically active, you can even use and technology to find online exercise programs to follow along at home.
If you’re a caregiver for an , you may find to be one way to keep other and friends in the loop.
offers a platform to provide updates and request assistance as needed.
may feel disconnected from the care being provided, but want to be kept up to date. However, for a primary caregiver, communicating changes or updates to other who live at a distance may feel like one more task to keep up with.
Luckily, can help keep everyone on the same page. Using a shared calendar or even a care coordination site to coordinate care and keep in the loop can be a great help.
Family and friends may be able to set up when changes occur or when appointments are happening. Having automated about a ’s test results or upcoming doctor’s appointments can make life as a caregiver a bit easier.
can make it easy - though you do want to be cautious about making sure you’re in a private setting.
Perhaps the best part about is its accessibility.
Regardless of , there are ways to utilize and reap the benefits of connection. can be accessed on any device that can connect to the internet such as an , , or tablet.
If the cost of these devices is prohibitive, explore local initiatives that aim to provide technology to . This may be accessed through your local senior center or Agency on Aging Service Point.
Local services may also be able to help offset the cost of internet for , depending on their .
Many institutions have modeled online portals off of to make keeping in touch with their patients easy to use.
Caregivers and their can stay up to date with appointments, prescriptions, and more. This makes all the more accessible and helps the caregiver stay informed of their ’s health.
Through the use of wearable devices, some of these portals can even monitor vitals (for example,
or heart rate) and communicate it back to the provider.
Whenever you are utilizing a new form of technology or , it’s always important to keep in mind the to be cautious of what information you’re putting out and who you are connecting with.
As a caregiver, be sure to provide some oversight for your to ensure they are staying safe while enjoying the . can provide endless opportunities for and caregivers, and more and more people are taking advantage of these benefits.
Laurel McLaughlin has over a decade worth of experience in various sectors of the elder care field- home care, senior living, and non-profits. She has a Master’s in Gerontology and is a certified dementia practitioner.
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