Earlier this week, I talked about how social media can be a bad thing and especially where our elders are concerned. We are social beings! The fact that people are more attached to their than they are to loved ones (by feeling more socially in sync with text messages than phone calls) seems, to me, to be a misguided priority.
Technology is building towards immediacy and while having rapid answers can be a good thing (as I’ll address in this article), it can also be a bad thing. There are some things you need to take slow and as the Baby Boomers retire and need to find senior care, I’ve no doubt they’ll want to start slowing down.
But all that aside, sometimes social media can be a good thing and especially for our loved ones that need to find senior care or are already in an elderly housing community.
How Social Media Can Be A Good Thing for Senior Care
Talk to any representative of a Skilled Nursing Facility (SNF), hospital, or some form of senior care home and I guarantee they’ll all tell you that the number one concern with elders living on their own is falls.
It’s one of those things where, when we’re young, we don’t think of it as a dangerous and dire situation. As a kid, we fall, we get back up; even well into our 20s and 30s – though it may take a little longer. Even our elders that are excelling in physical fitness and exercise don’t take the thought of falls seriously… but they NEED to be taken seriously.
Our bones grow more porous which means that no matter how strong your muscles are, your leg can give out and you can fall. Because they’re more porous, they’re also more likely to break as well. Now that’s not to say that there’s nothing you can do. We’ve already discussed how Heather’s grandfather broke a bone, but because he was in such good shape, he recovered in no time.
But why go over falls again?
Because this is when having our phones on us at all times is important; this is when social media kicks butt!
Companies Targetting Senior Care
Today, many companies are targeting seniors as the next big demographic for smartphone apps. In some cases, it’s integrated into their senior care home – some have iPads/Tablets designed to open their doors and windows, and even medication reminders.
PBS recently reported on several start-up companies that are crafting better Durable Medical Equipment (DME) for elders or apps that increase our elders’ memories.
Most prominently featured was a company called Cat Wise, where they’ve developed a product called Lively (styled Live!y). A series of sensors are delivered to the elderly person and hooked up to the front door, the refrigerator, medicine case, etc. Then, both the elder and the family have access to the app on their phones, so they can see when their loved one is leaving the house, when they’re coming back, when they’re eating, when they’re taking their medication.
People that use this app, check it as often as all their other ones, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. In the interviews, both seniors and families appreciated the product because the families can check on their elder without drastically changing their schedule or incessantly calling, and the seniors have all the independence they could hope for without having a family nagging if they’re taking their medicine.
Of course, if the elder is not taking their medication, then they can called their elder to remind them. Or, if they went out, but haven’t returned in a long time, then they know to report it. Or, if they haven’t left the home, but haven’t activated any of the sensors, then it’s another good time to call, because maybe they’ve had a fall.
Social Media Can Be Useful For Senior Care
PBS stated that the elderly community has been widely overlooked and it’s true. Just take a look at my other post with the information from the Facebook survey – they only surveyed people between the ages of 18-44.
However, senior care cannot go ignored.
And, it wasn’t too long ago, when we were browsing Facebook and a woman sent out a status update saying that her father wandered off in the Issaquah area and she didn’t know where to find him. Of course, we and many other local senior care homes picked up this status and spread the word, and sure enough, he was found.
In instances like that, social media has greatly improved our lives. It’s just when it becomes a mindless addiction and not a social interaction that we need to take a few steps back.