If you are reading this you are part of the internet community and already know its benefits and pitfalls. My 88 year old mother is internet savvy and uses her IPad every day, for emails, reading the news, ordering her shopping and staying in touch. However she has noticed that few of her friends and acquaintances of a similar age are connected and can see that they are missing out on the many advantages of the internet.
One of the helpful aspects of the internet can be in combatting loneliness, often the bane of the elderly. There are numerous sites one can be part of, and social media to help stay connected to family and friends who may not be near or available.
An interesting site I have just come across is a UK one called ‘Gransnet’ which is primarily aimed at grandparents of both sexes, but asserts that anyone can join. Here is what Gransnet can offer in its own words :
“Gransnet is the busiest social networking site for the over 50s. Launched in May 2011, the site was described by the Telegraph as ‘a new dawn in grey power.’
At its heart is a buzzing forum where users debate the hot topics of the day, support each other through tough times and share a laugh. Brimming with useful content covering everything from fashion to grandparenting, travel to technology, as well as competitions and an incredibly popular bookclub, there is something on the site for everyone. Gransnet is recognised as a champion for digital inclusion and is constantly challenging the stereotypes of older people in the media.” (See www.gransnet.com )
In fact, in a comprehensive article on the Gransnet site about loneliness they give “going online” as one of the helpful actions one can take. They say :
“While online friendships will never replace the intimacy of face to face interactions, Gransnet community members recount time and time again about how helpful talking on the forums has been for them. 59% of those surveyed say social media helps them feel less lonely and 82% say that talking about feeling lonely is much easier when you are anonymous and online. In response to this, we’ve recently launched the Gransnet Cafe, a place on the forums specifically for those in need of a virtual cuppa and supportive ear to pop on for advice, support, or simply to chat.
So, if you are lonely or simply bored, you can consider joining online sites to liven up your day and connect in a digital way with the outside world. For many seniors connecting digitally with strangers is unfamiliar and they may have reservations. However if you take sensible precautions about personal information sharing it can open new doors of communication that can brighten your day. Maybe Gransnet may be suitable for you.