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Using technology to stay connected

Whether you're the generation that grew up with technology, or you're still struggling to get your head around it, more and more of us are finding ways to use tech to our advantage.

Though the old adage tells you that you can't teach an old dog new tricks, this couldn't be further from the truth when it comes to becoming tech savvy. Many people who were born in a generation long before the internet, tablets and smartphones are finding ways to use new technology to suit them.

In our own care homes, many of our residents use smartphones, tablets or computers to stay connected to their relatives.

The older generation can be dismissed too quickly when it comes to technology, with many people thinking they don't understand smartphones or can't get their head around social media. However, this is far from the truth.

The age of "social seniors"

Ofcom research has found that more older people are getting digital, with the number of over-75s on Facebook doubling over the past year. It revealed that although they spend less time on the internet than younger generations, they are still spending around 15 hours every week online.

These figures suggest that this trend is only going to grow further. Some 48 per cent of baby boomers (aged 53 to 71) now have a social media profile, with Ofcom dubbing this generation "social seniors". In addition, 41 per cent of over-75s could say the same, a 19 per cent increase from the previous year.

The Ofcom findings reveal that 21 per cent of users over 75 going online for the first time in the last five years show that it's some of the oldest members of society that are learning new skills in their later years.

It described the trend as a "striking growth in older people's use of technology". With this in mind, it's clear that technology can hold a lot of potential for elderly care, bringing older people closer to their friends, family and the world.

A tool to tackle loneliness?

With loneliness and isolation still being such a worrying problem for our older generations, technology could offer a way to boost mental health among people in later life.

Many older people aren't at a stage where they need medical support but struggle to get out and see friends in the local community. This puts them at significant risk of isolation, which can all too easily evolve into depression or anxiety.

Studies have shown that technology can help the elderly feel more connected to their loved ones and the world around them, if they get the support and tools they need. There's also a growing role of technology in older people with more specialist needs, such as dementia.

Advances in technology has seen it become a more crucial element of dementia care. From memory apps to those that allow people to rank places by their "dementia-friendliness", there are endless potential applications for tech in specialist elderly care.

Apps that remind or prompt people to do certain things, like pick up the newspaper or take medication, can help people enjoy their independence and enjoy the best quality of life possible.

Giving the elderly support

It's easy to see the potential that technology has for helping our older people to stay connected but it's just as important that they have the support around them to give them the confidence to learn these new skills.

Like any elderly care, it's essential that the individual is put at the heart of any discussions about their independence, health or care situation. If you want to talk about what options may best suit your older relative, don't hesitate to get in touch with a member of our Barchester team or find your nearest Barchester care home here.

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