One of the biggest upsides to living in a communal setting, such as assisted living or skilled nursing facilities, is the ability to connect with like-minded older adults, build relationships and achieve a sense of community. Yet many older adults enter these settings fearful of meeting new people and hesitate to take part in the activities offered, and thus they fail to make valuable connections that could greatly improve the quality of this stage of their lives. Connected Living aims to reduce this anxiety by creating a social network designed specifically for older adults in senior living, recently reported by BostInnovation.com.
The Connected Living network enables seniors living in senior living communities to make contact with and keep in touch with not only fellow residents in their own community, but with family and friends from their home communities and even years past. Seniors are taught how to use the simple, Facebook-like interface and how to share calendars, send emails and upload photos. Seniors can post their interests to their personal profile (dubbed "MySelf"), and members within the same community can connect with one another based on shared interests and activities.
To encourage residents to share their life stories through social media, Group Sessions are open to all residents, which teach residents about technology and how it can be used to share personal moments and memories with loved ones--memories that may otherwise go unshared. Sarah Hoit, CEO and Co-Founder of Connected Living, says, "Aging in America is changing, and we are transforming how generations connect with each other, share their life experiences, learn together, and access health services."
The benefits of social networking aren't limited to residents of assisted living facilities, however. Aging in Action reports on a Canadian study that shows caregivers showed significant improvements in stress levels by participating in an internet-based intervention program, whether through web-based chat or video-based group therapy. The group participating in group video therapy not only had reduced stress levels, but also showed improved mental health.
The future of technology shaping senior living and caregiving has only just begun. New and exciting innovations are yet to be made which will streamline seniors' and caregivers' ability to stay connected, meet new people, learn new things, and receive support from those in similar situations.
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