Real World Health Care Blog

Tag Archives: social media

6 Reasons Seniors Need Social Media for Wellness

When you consider that some seniors were around before the advent of television, it is no wonder that they may be resistant to new technology and especially social media. For many seniors, computers are intimidating, but it is critical for family members and the healthcare community to encourage seniors to get involved in social media.

Asif Khan, CEO, Caremerge

Asif Khan, CEO, Caremerge

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review points to several studies that show social interactions could lead to a smarter, stronger brain. This is traditionally a huge focus in senior living communities, where social interactions are encouraged to promote overall wellness among their residents. Thanks to technology, these social interactions can now happen online.

Here are six reasons seniors should use social media.

  1. Keep in touch with family. As the body slows down, visiting old friends and even family can be difficult. Social media overcomes geography, helping seniors keep in touch with kids and grandkids. They can receive videos and photos and have live conversations with the push of a button.
  2. Find old friends. Ever wonder what happened to your Army buddy or high school sweetheart? One of the most amazing parts of social media sites like Facebook is that you can find people from your past and reconnect. This can be a thrilling experience for someone in a senior living community.
  3. Make new friend. When a 25-year-old in a major city complains that it is hard to meet new people, imagine how an 85-year-old in a senior living community feels. Limited mobility makes isolation a big problem for seniors. Traditional social media can certainly help find old friends. However, finding new friends on the same old sites is not practical for the aging. What seniors want is a simpler solution that lets them connect with other like-minded people right within their own local community. New social media sites geared toward seniors make it possible for seniors to broaden their horizons and find people with similar interests in their local community. The face-to-face interaction available through these sites helps seniors create an “active” lifestyle within their own environment.
  4. Keep working. Sixty-five is no longer the retirement age for most seniors, and while a daily commute into the nearest city may no longer be a viable option, digital and online opportunities for work are expanding at a rapid pace. Social media networking tools keep seniors from being forced into retirement. Moreover, senior living providers can easily post local jobs along with many volunteer positions so that seniors can continue to live an impactful and purposeful life.
  5. Learn and research. Having an endless library at your fingertips is a luxury that seniors did not have growing up. When most seniors take the leap and begin to use the Internet and search sites like Google, they are astonished at how much there is to learn. Learning keeps the brain active, which is critical to health and wellness. And active learning can lead to new hobbies or even business ideas.
  6. Help with gifting. For seniors who have grandkids, being a good gift giver is a core responsibility. Elder consumers can follow their favorite brands on Facebook and other sites and be alerted to sales and promotions. They can also see what is “new and hot” among the younger generation to help them come up with great gift ideas their grandchildren would love.

What are some other ways seniors can use social media to improve their health and wellness? Give us your ideas in the comments section.

Asif Khan is founder and CEO of Caremerge. The company forges meaningful connections between providers, families and seniors seeking to improve communication in today’s complex healthcare environment.

What You Can Do To Strengthen Health Care Delivery for MLK Day

Nathan Sheon Head Shot to Use

Nathan Sheon

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. (MLK) Day of Service will be recognized in communities across America on Monday, Jan. 20 as part of UnitedWe Serve – the President’s annual national call to service initiative. A powerful catalyst that organizes and promotes local volunteer programs to benefit diverse populations, it “empowers individuals, strengthens communities, bridges barriers, creates solutions to social problems, and moves us closer to Dr. King’s vision of a ‘Beloved Community.’”

Recognized as a “day on, not a day off” since 1994, the MLK Day of Service is the only federal holiday observed as a national day of service. The campaign’s programs address a wide range of issues that include poverty, education and access to food, in addition to sponsoring numerous initiatives that intersect with health care. This year, the MLK Day of Service aims to empower people to advocate for and educate their communities about how to live healthfully, from working out to making better eating choices and obtaining the latest information on implications of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

Some of the ways you can help raise awareness about health interventions that will help your volunteering to last beyond one day, include:

  •  Organizing a local fitness event
  •  Informing people in your local community about how the new health care law effects them
  • Teaching a class on healthful cooking and eating
  •  Educating low- and middle-income families on opportunities to access affordable health care for their children

The MLK Day of Service website also includes a multitude of communications tools, such as:

But why serve on MLK Day and join the movement to help transform communities and improve health care delivery?

“Dr. King devoted his life to advancing equality, social justice, and economic opportunity for all, and taught us that everyone has a role to play in making America what it ought to be,” Robert Velasco II, acting CEO of the Corporation for National and Community Service, said in a statement. “Now more than ever, we need to take heed of Dr. King’s teachings and work together to achieve his dream. Volunteer service is a powerful way to strengthen economic opportunity. And when better to start than on the day we honor Dr. King?”

Organizers of the MLK Day of Service hope that by giving advocates and allies the tools and information to make their projects newsworthy, word of the initiative will spread – along with the success of new and innovative service projects. The event provides volunteers with the critical resources they need to establish grassroots campaigns and service projects that they believe will empower individuals and local communities to make more informed choices across the spectrum of health.

Now share your story. Are you participating in the MLK Day of Service, and if so, tell us why. Have you – or someone you know – volunteered in one or more programs? What impact did it have in your local community?

Categories: Access to Care

This is Not Your Father’s Oldsmobile, Nor Your Child’s Social Network

David Sheon

David Sheon

Does social networking conjure images of teenagers who share seemingly worthless online videos of watermelons dropped from atop buildings? Well get this:

Americans OVER age 45 represent the largest percentage increase in social media usage in the past year, now up to 38 percent in 2012, compared to 31 percent in 2011 (Source: Edison Research).

What does this mean for improving health care outcomes?  At least one analysis finds a prolific growth in online patient communities, where peers help one another find solutions, determine the right time to go to the doctor, and essentially crowd source solutions to their problems.

Many social networks specifically for patients have launched using a number of different business models.  Here are just a few:

  • Inspire has social networks for patients with various diseases and health conditions, each sponsored by health organizations.
  • The Mayo Clinic has created a platform for patients with various diseases, not limited to the 500,000 patients treated at the Minnesota-based hospital system annually.
  • Patients Like Me is a web-based portal for patient-to-patient communication that was started by two brothers at MIT.  They pledge complete transparency in terms of funding sources.
Are social networks resulting in better outcomes or improved access? Any success
stories out there you’d like to share? What are some of the best sites for connecting with others who have similar health conditions?

Categories: Access to Care