5 ways to help your senior join an online community
Online communities today are flourishing. Physical distance and quick Internet access has encouraged people to make friends online. Seniors, who often live alone and have difficulty leaving the house, can find awesome opportunities at expanding their social circle… in online groups! They can chat with like-minded people. Friendships can blossom. If you have a senior in your life who is missing social contact, here are a few reasons why online communities can be an answer to finding emotional fulfillment and joy.
The benefits of membership
We face a number of challenges with regards to maintaining social ties especially in older age. Declining health, family that moves away, friends who may have their own personal and health issues, seniors can become lonely and dispirited.
Finding new friends online can bring joy into their lives and therefore, significantly improve their mental health. Seniors may also find tried tips and tricks regarding their own circumstances, from ideas on aging in place safely to dealing with difficult family situations.
Finding the best online community
Fortunately, a large number of online communities exist especially for seniors. From support groups to hobby circles, the elderly too, can find a vast number of senior online users they can share and discuss their interests with.
The website superseniorconnection.com is “the online community made just for seniors!” Here like-minded folk can connect, for free, on an online forum. The site also includes news, articles, and inspiring user stories.
Facebook is another popular platform not only to keep in touch with friends but to create and participate in groups. Your senior may already be on Facebook, making it one step easier to use as they are already familiar with how it works. Through the search option or friends’ interests, they can easily find thriving groups in a variety of topics.
Seniors can also participate in online forums dedicated to the field they are interested in. Just a simple search on Google can result in lists of websites with forums dedicated to anything from living with a chronic condition to amateur golf.
“I’ve always loved sports, but now I’m stuck to a wheelchair due to my severe arthritis. I still follow sports news on TV. Especially basketball. My son showed me a page online where people talk about the latest games. Now I have some friends there.” – Rick, 78, New Jersey
Knowing the risks
Making sure your senior is safe online is crucial. Some tips to ensure their online security include choosing an unidentifiable screen name, creating passwords with numbers and capital letters included, keeping personal phone numbers and home address private, and never disclosing credit card and ID or passport numbers.
Making it easy to access a group
Joining an online community may be simpler than you expect. Many seniors find technology challenging and might be reluctant to use a computer. Choosing a tablet for elderly users is a good solution to avoiding confusion and discouragement.
What’s more, installing an app which simplifies tablet use to its core will give your senior the confidence they need to use it! Oscar Senior is a downloadable app made for seniors to easily use the Internet. Your senior can access their chosen online group with just a click of an icon.
“Now I have Oscar Senior on my tablet. My kids added my favorite online group and it’s the first thing I check every morning. I love to discuss current political and economic events. I’m always curious to read the replies to my posts.” – Nancy, 66, Oregon
Building long-lasting friendships
Consistency is key to building online friendships. Once your senior has found their group of interest, encourage them to be active and participate regularly. Local friends may even meet up in person. Of course in this case, it is important to check that the meeting is held in a safe location. A trusted family member may also participate in the meeting to ensure proper safety. Social connections are essential for wellbeing. It’s never too late to make new friends!
Growing older does not have to be a lonely experience. A large part of the elderly population unfortunately still faces solitude in our mobile society. Without family and friends nearby, seniors feel alone. However, an online group of friends is exactly what your elderly loved one may need. Even if they are not computer savvy, there are simple solutions to getting your senior online. Online communities are a rich resource of help, support, and fun.