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Connections with Friends and Family Important to Seniors

Author: Lauren Allegrezza

It is important to maintaining a high quality of life in their later years.

This statistic comes from a recent study on aging from the National Council on Aging, UnitedHealthcare, and USA TODAY.

According to Lisa Suhay, the author of an article in The Christian Science Monitor1 about this study, 40% of seniors in the study listed staying connected to friends and family as the most important aspect to maintaining a high quality of life in their later years, while only 30% listed having financial means as most important to their quality of life.

Lisa also notes, "While the survey found that seniors today are comfortable using technology, they do say 'a lack of understanding and cost' are obstacles for them to widely adopt technology."

Computers can be a great way to stay in touch with others, however, the complexities of traditional computers and other devices make it difficult for a first-time senior user to get started.

Here at Telikin, we get that, which is why we developed the Telikin computer. We strive not only to give seniors, or anyone else frustrated with modern technology, an easier way to send emails, check the news, research information, and stay in touch with family, but also to do so at a cost that is very comparable to those traditional computers which are more difficult to navigate.

In her article, Lisa goes on to describe her experience with her own mother who loves using the computer, but still has some difficulties. While reading the article, I noticed that so many of the points Lisa brings up about her own experiences are ones that we often come across and know to be true.

1. Support is Critical

Lisa explains that she is her mom's "IT person on call 24/7."

Telikin Customer Winnick 2Well, we've heard that one quite a few times before. Adult children are often the ones who contact us to purchase Telikin for their parents. They frequently explain how their parents call many times with computer questions. These customers realize that the Telikin support team can be an effective partner in helping their parents enjoy computing, and that our support team can be more readily available to handle their parent's computer questions about sending an email or setting up a Facebook account. And with remote access capabilities, our tech support team can very easily show a user how to do something, rather than just verbally describing it.

2. Seniors Love Facebook (and other social sites)

Lisa notes that her mother soon would be checking "Facebook to watch the video of her grandson...rescuing our cat from a tree at midnight last night."

Every day, we help our customers access Facebook to check out pictures of their grandkids or catch up with old friends. We also receive requests for help with setting up online dating profiles, as with increasing frequency seniors are using online dating sites to find new friendships and relationships.

3. Using technology helps decrease depression and loneliness in seniors

Lisa explains how her mother writes stories on the computer but she expresses frustration about the complexities of formatting, "Why don't all computers just have the same word processor? It would make life so much easier!" Lisa then states, "While my mind reeled at the prospect of explaining tech wars to mom, it was better to have her healthy and aggravated than isolated, weepy, and depressed because the technology wasn't in her life at all."

This statement is validated by recent studies from UCLA2 and the University of Alabama3 which found, respectively, that isolation, loneliness, and depression are major health risks in seniors as they age, and that information and communication technologies such as computers and the internet, allow seniors to build social networks and keep them connected to the world.

Technology can abate loneliness in seniors by giving them more opportunities to communicate with others, read about world events, and keep their minds active. Reducing isolation improves quality of life and overall health. At Telikin, "keeping friends and families connected" is not just a tag line, it is our heartfelt commitment to help people of all ages stay connected using computer technology. Computing does not have to be complicated or frustrating!

So for those of you who desire your senior loved ones to stay connected with you online, the benefits to them will be significant and the entire family will experience the joys of staying close, even over distances!

Photo Credit - Debbie Winnick. Debbie's mother uses her Telikin to see photos of her grandchildren, including her one granddaughter who is pregnant with her soon to be great-grandchildren!

1. Read Lisa Suhay's article in The Christian Science Monitor

2. Read the ULCA study, ULCA study, Loneliness in Older Persons: A Predictor of Functional Decline and Death

3. Read the abstract of the University of Alabama Study,You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks: A Qualitative Analysis of How Residents of Senior Living Communities May Use the Web to Overcome Spatial and Social Barriers