Research

Social Media Can Support Healthiness of Older People

The use of social media by older people can offer valuable additional support in cases of sickness and diseases, new research from the University of Luxembourg has shown. In a new publication, Dr Anja Leist from the University's Research Unit INSIDE, concludes 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 evidence for the large potential of social media use in clinical practise had not been systematically investigated until now.

The review of existing studies by Dr Leist, associated with the Technology and Ageing Working Group of Professor Dieter Ferring, explores the manifold intervention possibilities, such as designing web sites to provide information on hip fracture prevention where older adults can also discuss their experiences.

Besides the potential for clinical practise and other positive consequences in everyday use of social media, the researchers also addressed the possible negative consequences of social media use.

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.

"For me, it was interesting to learn that there is evidence for a large potential of social media in clinical practice. 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," says Dr Leist.

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. Some examples are access to harmful information and misuse of personal data. Other negative effects have been shown to be unfavourable social comparisons due to overly positive self-representations of others displayed in online social networks.

Dr. Leist raised the point of the lack of clarity on posthumous management of online web content, i.e. when the user has passed away. Another crucial unresolved issue is the data handling when a user develops an illness which leads to compromised decision-making ability such as dementia. With no possibility to modify online content, unless the user has agreed beforehand with full decision-making ability, inappropriate behaviour or displayed web content could pose a danger to others, but also impend the dignity of the user.

Leist, A. K. (in press). Social media use of older adults – A mini-review. Gerontology. DOI: 10.1159/000346818

Most Popular Now

Medelinked Now Integrated with Micr…

Medelinked is now integrated with Microsoft Health and Band. The integration ensures that wellness summary data from Microsoft Health app and Band wearable is available i...

Read more

HealthShare at the Heart of Healthc…

Following a successful pilot programme to deliver more integrated care to heart failure patients, Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust is rolling out the InterSyst...

Read more

Leading Digital Health Alliances An…

21 - 22 November 2016, Barcelona, Spain. The European Connected Health Alliance (ECHAlliance) and Personal Connected Health Alliance (PCHA) have signed a pivotal agreeme...

Read more

Brain-Machine Interface Triggers Re…

During the 2014 FIFA World Cup opening ceremony, a young Brazilian man, paralyzed from the chest down, delivered the opening kickoff. He used a brain-machine interface, a...

Read more

Nervecentre Launch Mobile Clinical …

Nervecentre Software has launched a mobile clinical photography solution for nurses and doctors in hospitals. Fully integrated directly into the patient record, the mobil...

Read more

in silico Clinical Trials: How Comp…

The term 'in silico clinical trials' refers to: "The use of individualised computer simulation in the development or regulatory evaluation of a medicinal product, medica...

Read more

Gaming Camera could Aid MS Treatmen…

A commonly used device found in living rooms around the world could be a cheap and effective means of evaluating the walking difficulties of multiple sclerosis (MS) patie...

Read more

Siemens and INSIGHTEC Sign Agreemen…

INSIGHTEC, the global leader in MR-guided Focused Ultrasound (MRgFUS) therapy, announced the signing of a strategic agreement with the global leader in Magnetic Resonance...

Read more

Do Pokémon Go and augmented reality…

The combination of augmented reality technology, geocaching, and other novel techniques to create innovative active video games (AVGs) has potential personal and public h...

Read more

Agfa HealthCare Awarded its Fourth …

Agfa HealthCare, a leader and innovator in the medical imaging and healthcare IT space, today announced that the U.S. government has awarded the company its DIN-PACS IV (...

Read more

Kick-off of Grants4Apps Accelerator…

22 August 2016, Berlin, Germany. The Grants4Apps® Accelerator is a mentoring program for digital health startups taking place in Berlin. This year's batch with five star...

Read more

CSC's Care Coordination Solutions A…

CSC (NYSE:CSC), a global leader in next-generation IT services and solutions, today announced that its innovative Care Coordination and Population Health solutions are no...

Read more

Digest Newsletter

Subscribe to our weekly Newsletter and stay updated on the latest eHealth News. Subscribe now, it's free!
© eHealthNews.eu 2006 - 2016