With access to social media tools like Facebook and Twitter, people around the world can connect and interact with their family members, friends, and communities (both near and far) within a virtual space.
This digital forum of communication and entertainment promotes the extension of personal networks and helps maintain strong relationships within them by increasing our perceived proximity to the people we care about.
There are many benefits for older adults living in retirement communities and long-term care centres to use social media on a regular basis:
- Decrease feelings of isolation
- Provide users with the abilities to share narratives about themselves
- Post pictures and videos from their daily lives
- Read updates from other users
- Participate in free video calls with loved ones
- Play games with others
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Technology is everywhere! With computers now intertwined in our everyday lives, it’s important to pay attention and take care of our physical health. Frequent breaks away from your digital devices can decrease fatigue, eye strain and headaches, which are caused by prolonged technology use. We tend to limit the amount of time our kids use Microsoft Kinect or their iPod, for example, but we forget to apply the same rule to ourselves.
The problem with focusing on objects such as cell phones, laptops and tablets like the Blackberry Playbook in close proximity for long periods is that your eye muscles can get irritated or your joints can become sore. Unless your eyes are constantly focusing and re-focusing on moving objects at various distances, your eyes will not get the workout needed to stay healthy. Likewise, typing and using a mouse or touch screen for long periods of time without proper stretching a breaks can cause discomfort and could lead to conditions like carpel tunnel syndrome.
It is recommended that after an hour at the computer you should take a break. If you find that you are forgetting to take breaks, you might want to use a timer to remind you. Micro pauses are just as important as long breaks. Micro pauses are frequent short breaks within the hour. Take a moment to stretch your fingers and clench your fists to keep your hands loose and nimble. Take 20 seconds to focus your eyes 20 feet away; maybe read a clock on a far wall. You should get up, take a walk and stretch those joints that have been engaged in an extended static position for a while.
Here is a link to a great guide to basic computer stretching: Technology user stretch guide
At ETAG, our site leads are constantly reminding participants to take frequent breaks during our hour and a half sessions. It’s good practice for everyone though, not just adults 55+. We all need to take care of our selves now, so we can continue being healthy in the future.
– Simone Carpio (ETAG Lead Volunteer)