We find that many [older adults] still don’t know each other in their building, and they isolate [themselves] in their rooms.
We built Connected Living to build those bonds.” Individual social bonds built through technology, in turn, encourage older adults to engage with technologies that are connecting society as a whole, says Cheryl Lewis, MEd, sales manager for Telikin.
Centerstone, a community mental health center serving clients in Indiana and Tennessee, recently launched to provide online tools that allow clients and potential clients to participate in moderated discussions and live chats, learn about community resources, and request appointments.
Clients accessing the private side of the site can create personal calendars, monitor their recovery plans, and track health information such as medications, allergies, and appointment notes.
There are myriad reasons older adults have turned to technology.
Older adults see technology as a tool for connecting with family and friends, developing new friendships, exploring options for entertainment and hobbies, accessing support and information about health topics, and managing activities of daily life, such as banking and shopping (Blaschke, Freddolino, & Mullen, 2009).
Although is open to people of all ages, it has been especially popular among older adults, says Linda Grove-Paul, LCSW, Centerstone’s director of addiction and forensic services.
“[Older adults] may need services like this more than other groups,” she says.The Pennsylvania-based firm produces touch-screen computers that come loaded with elder-friendly tools for Internet browsing, video chats, photo sharing, and e-mail.Telikin’s customer base is approaching 15,000; some of the company’s clientele are in their 80s, 90s, or even past 100.Now, he regularly Skypes with relatives not only in California but also in New York, Florida, and Texas.Raymond and Schmidt are not plugged-in teenagers or young adults raised on a steady diet of technology.It is the combination of the technology with the human interaction provided by instructors and fellow users that makes the difference.