Seniors Going Online: Social Distancing Effect

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    The current pandemic has been severe on all of us, but seniors, especially, have been hit the hardest. Older adults are most at risk of contracting the life-threatening Corona Virus, thus, practicing social distance has become more crucial than ever to ensure their physical health. 

    Several nursing homes closed off visitors entirely, and senior clubs had to be suspended for safety reasons. As weeks stretch into months, any connection that seniors had with humanity is slowly dwindling. Unsurprisingly, many seniors have gotten better with technology to blunt the isolation. 

    Seniors Join the Digital Era

    A study conducted by the Pew Research Center found that about 42% of senior citizens owned smartphones and were digitally connected to their loved ones. In the last two decades, the percentage of seniors using the internet rose to 67%.

    Humans are social animals and thrive on human interaction. When all possible means to interact with other people were thwarted, the elderly had no option but to create an online persona to stave off solitude. Doing so has proven itself to be an excellent recipe for overcoming loneliness, and more and more senior citizens are signing up!

    Bridging The Generation Gap! 

    As the epidemic continues to grow, people are trying their best to adjust to the new ‘normal’ and have slowly started shifting everything online. From attending lessons to celebrating their birthdays, the youngsters seem to be adapting quite well to these changed circumstances. The analog-generation, on the other hand, struggles to keep up.

    However, all of that is changing as the younger generation gears up to help seniors set up their online identities. The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services recently held a news conference asking younger relatives and friends of seniors to help them navigate technology.

    Instead of rolling their eyes at seniors fumbling with their phones, workers at many nursing homes have taken it upon themselves to teach seniors how to use video apps such as FaceTime, Skype, and Zoom.

    Senior Planet, a digital platform for seniors, provided tutorials on Zoom, gaming programs, and ride-sharing apps to ease their isolation. Furthermore, it helped them connect to other aging adults through virtual clubs, fitness lessons, and online dating!

    Candoo, a company that helps the elderly use technology, also made tutorials on using Zoom and other apps. Seniors were also able to call their representatives and walk through the entire process.

    What Do Seniors Do Online? 

    Many boomers have created their accounts on popular social media such as Facebook to stay in touch with their friends and family. Some, who have familiarized themselves with video apps, have even started taking group online fitness lessons and joined several virtual clubs.

    Going out to buy groceries has become one of the biggest challenges for the elderly. But, going on the internet has given them the ability to buy groceries online and have it delivered right to their doorstep, helping them avoid human interactions.

    As the aging population looks at technology positively, many have started using online platforms like Smilebox to keep in touch with their friends and family. While some seniors are thriving on sharing and viewing pictures, others have found their love interests online! Online dating has become quite popular among seniors helping them make new friends during the global pandemic. 

    Connecting Safely

    The number of seniors going online is increasing every day. Hence, there are some safety protocols that they need to adapt to protect their online identities. First off, they must set up a strong and unique password that isn’t easy to crack. Having a strong password can help protect one’s account from impersonation.

    Although online dating is prominent among seniors, they must remember never to divulge their personal information. The internet is full of people trying to scam vulnerable people, and seniors must be careful about who they are talking to.

    Even though digital connections are an excellent way of staying connected to your family, nothing beats the human touch. With scientists coming close to a breakthrough on the vaccine, here’s hoping the walls come down soon, and we can walk hand-in-hand again. 

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