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AuthorsY.Y. Colindres, Y-L. Hsu (2016-11-23) ; Recommend: Yeh-Liang Hsu (2016-11-23).
Note: This paper is published on International Society for Gerontechnology (ISG 2016), vol. 15, (suppl.), pp.11-11, November, 2016.

Social media technology to reduce social isolation and provide care for older adults

Purpose In a society where the Internet usage grows on a daily basis, the geographical distances between the older adults and their families are one of the many factors that may lead to social isolation and depression1. However, emerging technologies allow people to connect with each other through the use of social media. Studies have shown there is a rising elder population adopting this technology into their daily life routines2. Unfortunately, social media by its own does not increase social interaction3. The rich content published on social media is a key factor for promoting interaction among its users. Some older adults may have trouble producing content on social media due to finding the technology confusing, but are fairly acquainted with physical world objects4, 5. Therefore the implementation of physical objects to produce digital content for social media is proposed in this research. Method This paper examines the implementation of a single Internet of Things (IoT) structure to incorporate a popular social media network into a care giving framework. This framework uses products that may commonly be used by older adults that generate information the caregiver may share on Facebook. Utilizing the Facebook SDK for publishing, this IoT structure can be implemented in different ways; for example, it is used for rehabilitation games that encourage older adults to perform physical activities and is also used in home telehealth applications. A rehabilitation game based on a basketball scoring backboard transmits the playing time and total score data to the application, allowing the caregiver to share it onto Facebook, thus allowing the family members to be informed of the rehabilitation done on that day during their daily check up on social media. Granted that when done in a daily basis this will allow the family members be up to date and communicate with their loved ones. A home telehealth   application can also use the same IoT structure, in which a 2-in-1 blood glucose and blood pressure meter publishes the measurement data to caregivers’ mobile phones. The data can then be posted onto the older adult’s Facebook timeline, allowing family members or caregivers to be notified of the results and provide support as needed. Due to Facebook’s privacy policy, applications cannot automatically post content or prefilled text on the timeline. Users need to approve every social media post before publishing, allowing them to have more control of the content they wish to share online. Results & Discussion Enabling family members to be updated of their loved ones through social media helps them become more involved in a passive way in the older adult’s life. Equally giving family members and caregivers a gateway to actively interact with the elder adult. This intends to provide a bridge for social inclusions through social media adaptation allowing caregivers to not only provide physical care but emotional support much needed by many older adults.


1. Nicholson, N. R. (2012). A review of social isolation: an important but underassessed condition in older adults. The journal of primary prevention,33(2-3), 137-152.

2. Zickuhr, K., & Madden, M. (2012). Older adults and Internet use. Pew Internet & American Life Project, 6

3. Meyrowitz, J. (1985). No sense of place: The impact of electronic media on social behavior. Oxford University Press.

4. Leist, A. K. (2013). Social media use of older adults: a mini-review. Gerontology, 59(4), 378-384.

5.  Lee, B., Chen, Y., & Hewitt, L. (2011). Age differences in constraints encountered by seniors in their use of computers and the Internet. Computers in Human Behavior, 27(3), 1231-1237.

Keywords: Communication Management Governance, Social Media.

Address: Yuan Ze University 135 Yuan-Tung Rd. Chung-Li Dist. Taoyuan City, Taiwan

E: yadia.colindres@gmail.com