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

Accelerate Your Digital Health Star…

The Grants4Apps® Accelerator is a mentoring program for digital health startups taking place in Berlin. This year's batch with five startups runs from August until Decemb...

Read more

Medelinked Platform Now Features Sy…

Medelinked, the online health platform that empowers healthcare engagement and management, now features the Medelinked Symptom Checker integrated as part of the Medelinke...

Read more

UMANICK has been Selected to Join t…

UMANICK has been selected among over 800 European start-ups from different sectors belonging to FIWARE Accelerator to enter its VIP Programme. UMANICK entered the eHealth...

Read more

Nottingham Hospitals Improve Patien…

Software designed by Therapists and ICT leads at Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust (NUH) and developed by Nervecentre Software is being used by Therapy staff at C...

Read more

eHealth Week 2016 Speakers Announce…

8 - 10 June 2016, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Today the Dutch Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport, the European Commission and HIMSS Europe announced the first confirm...

Read more

High in Calories and Low in Nutrien…

A new study from the University of Gothenburg show that adolescents like to present foods that are high in calories but low in nutrients in social media. Previous studies...

Read more

Brainlab Quentry First Online Medic…

Brainlab, a global leader in medical technology, today announced that it has received the EuroPriSe European Data Privacy Seal for Quentry® by Brainlab. The seal certifie...

Read more

eHealth Week 2016 with Special Rate…

8 - 10 June 2016, Amsterdam, The Netherlands. eHealth Week 2016 is the leading eHealth event in Europe and will take place in Amsterdam under the theme "You, at the hear...

Read more

Mathematics to Fight Cancer

Mathematicians and physicians at the University of Bonn have developed a new model for immunotherapy of cancer. The method could help to develop new treatment strategies ...

Read more

Are Humans the New Supercomputer?

The saying of philosopher René Descartes of what makes humans unique is beginning to sound hollow. 'I think - therefore soon I am obsolete' seems more appropriate. When a...

Read more

Medical Services via Smartphone: A …

19 - 21 April 2016, Berlin, Germany. As the digital revolution progresses, medical services are now appearing on many people’s smartphones. The mHealth market featuring ...

Read more

Siemens Healthcare and Thermo Fishe…

In a joint effort to provide customers with one of the most advanced solutions for molecular testing, Siemens Healthcare and Thermo Fisher Scientific have announced a new...

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