Research has shown that a greater sense of social cohesion and community belonging positively impacts health behaviours and overall wellness of adults both young and old.
But if you can’t physically interact with friends and family due to an illness, a physical injury, or even social distancing recommendations, technology can temporarily replace in-person experiences and keep retirement and aged care residents socially engaged.
Technological innovations over the last decade have opened entirely new ways for people to build and maintain relationships and take a more active role in their communities. If your residents are unable to participate in in-person activities, technology can help provide social interactions in the following ways:
Instead of residents calling their children, grandchildren, and friends, why not show them how to do a video call where you can actually see their faces?
Seeing facial expressions on screen will help residents feel connected. Skype, Facetime, Zoom and many other video conference tools are available to download onto smartphones and computers and are relatively easy to use.
Social media isn’t just for kids and young adults. In fact, 46 percent of people 65 and older use Facebook.
This is because social media platforms like Facebook make it easier for people to feel close with family and friends when they aren’t physically with them. You can show residents how to use Facebook to view photos and videos of their kids and grandkids and can even communicate with them through text or video chat in Facebook’s messenger app.
Are you looking for out-of-the-box ideas for those residents who wish to be active members of your community?
There are countless ways to volunteer online. For example, the United Nations offers thousands of people the chance to volunteer for them online each year to help achieve sustainable development. With activities like writing and editing, translation, research, teaching, outreach and so much more, the United Nations has an online volunteer activity to fit many residents’ talents and interests.
Closer to home, Seek Volunteer shows available online volunteer positions, simply click Online or Remote in the Where section.
Games are one of the best ways to exercise the brain and have a good time with friends and family.
Thanks to technology, residents can enjoy these benefits by playing their favourite games online, from chess to backgammon, almost any game you can think of has an online version now, and often they are free to download and play.
Games like Words With Friends (and online version of Scrabble) and Fairway Solitaire are just two classic games residents will enjoy playing on devices and they can play with their kids and grandkids, even if they’re not in the same physical location.
Technology can enhance the lives of older adults and improve their wellbeing. Technology can help combat loneliness and isolation and can even improve cognitive health, which is why it is important to embrace technology as much as possible at your senior living community.