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Technology is best when it brings people together 

No man is an island. Humans are born with a need to connect. Our physical and mental health are affected by the quality of these connections. According to the National Institute of Aging, there is a link between social engagement and the overall well-being of older adults. It is typical for older adults to feel lonely and alone, therefore it is critical to keep in touch with loved ones on a regular basis. Technology has made these connections easier, but not everyone has access to them. According to studies, older adults continue to fall behind in terms of technology usage, making them unable to participate in the digital world. The necessity of raising awareness about the digital divide is especially important during this COVID-19 pandemic, where face-to-face social connections are limited.

Technology has been found to assist older adults in a variety of ways as shown in previous research. In this blog, I want to share my experience as a tutor with ‘Webwise Senior Programme’ as well as a researcher on the topic of technology’s advantages for older adults. Both of these experiences have taught me how eager older adults are to learn, but that hurdles such as fear and anxiety associated with trying something new can get in the way. One of the primary advantages, as previously said, is that it allows individuals to connect with one another. Older adults may use Facebook and other social media applications to keep connected digitally. In the ‘webwise senior programme’ we attempt to offer as much information about these applications as we can during the lessons. We also make it a point to give them resources to help them ease any worries that they have on these applications. For example, when it comes to Facebook, we make sure to remind them that a password must be private and protected, and that they should only add individuals they know. This will make it easier for older adults to accept and adopt technology in their daily lives. 

Another important advantage of technology for older adults is that it may be used for leisure purposes. There are various high gaming and hobby applications that may be downloaded. These provide entertainment as well as a method for older adults to pass time. This helps to overcome loneliness and boredom that sometimes accompany aging. Another benefit of technology is that it provides security for older adults, especially those who live alone. An example of this are the personal monitoring devices that can track a person’s movements, location, sleep etc. There are also a number of wireless home safety systems that connect to applications, allowing loved ones to be notified if something goes wrong. 

There are many more advantages than the ones I listed. I wish to keep raising awareness and encouraging older adults to use technology. This can help them to take advantage of the benefits that the digital world has to offer. I want to conclude with the first sentence that I started with, technology is best when it brings people together. 

If you think that you can benefit from professional support on this issue you can reach out here.

Jessica Lynn Agius is a Psychology graduate from the University of Malta and a volunteer with Willingness Team.