Social media helps older people

A review of literature published in the journal Gerontology found that social media could play a role in helping older adults, particularly seniors who live alone in a clinical setting.

Citing more than two dozen prior research studies, Anja Leist with the University of Luxembourg argued the use of social media discussion boards could help patients, health care providers and the patient’s family members discuss their condition and share tools relating to its prevention, diagnosis and treatment. These discussion boards could also strengthen a patient’s feelings of control and encourage healthy lifestyle and behavior changes by creating a support network of other participants.

But Leist also cautioned social media does have its drawbacks including the fact many seniors have a tendency to overshare their personal information, which could put them at risk for crimes like identity theft. It is also possible seniors could find incorrect information about their health conditions and adopt a practice that could harm them, she argued.