Washington: The use of social media by older people can offer valuable additional support in cases of sickness and diseases, a new research has revealed.
In a new publication, Dr Anja Leist from the University of Luxembourg`s Research Unit INSIDE, concluded that possibilities for a systematic application in clinical practice seem promising.
With the rise of user-friendly devices such as tablets and other web-enabled devices, older adults now engage in social media, such as online social networks, discussion boards, and online forums, more frequently.
The study pointed out that with the successful use of a computer or web-enabled device, older adults report enhanced feelings of control and self-efficacy , but social media provides even more benefits for older adults.
Dr Leist said older adults can use social media to access health-related information and engage in patient-to-patient or patient-doctor conversations.
There are many online forums where people in difficult life situations, such as informal caregivers of a spouse with dementia or individuals with depression, can exchange thoughts as well as receive and provide social support.
Other positive consequences are that lonely older adults can overcome loneliness through contact to family and friends and other users with similar interests, the doctor added.
However the negative consequences of social media use for older adults have yet to be investigated and literature from related fields show the potential for possible pitfalls.