Many seniors live alone and they are finding that using social networks give them support and companionship. As people get older their circle of friends start to diminish and they find that they do not have anyone to talk to during the day or in the evening. Many have children that are working and have children of their own and lead very busy lives, which leave them no time for their parents and grandparents. It can be a very lonely world for seniors; therefore, they need a way to meet new people to share their lives.
Social networks like Facebook and MySpace are being used for support, reports Stephanie Clifford in Tuesday’s Science Times. Online networks can provide benefits similar to those of real-world groups of friends, but often are easier to assemble and maintain, experts say.
“One of the greatest challenges or losses that we face as older adults, frankly, is not about our health, but it’s actually about our social network deteriorating on us, because our friends get sick, our spouse passes away, friends pass away, or we move,” Joseph F. Coughlin, director of the AgeLab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, told Ms. Clifford.
“The new future of old age is about staying in society, staying in the workplace and staying very connected,” he added. “And technology is going to be a very big part of that, because the new reality is, increasingly, a virtual reality. It provides a way to make new connections, new friends and new senses of purpose.”
I found another interesting piece about the Times launching an online site for readers to post and comment about topics that interest them.
October 2, 2009, 12:08 pm
A Gathering Place for Readers By The New York Times
The Times has launched an online meeting place, called Health Care Conversations, for readers who want to join the national discussion about health care. Three topic areas may be of particular interest to New Old Age regulars: nursing home and end-of-life care, Medicare and the elderly and drug costs.