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Social Media for Elderly Depression

Elderly adults are the fastest-growing segment of the American population. Sadly, many elderly are increasingly isolated and struggle with depression, loneliness and declines in physical health.

A new study will assess the ability of computer use and social media networking to enhance the quality of life of elderly adults through online social connections and easier access to health information.

In the study, University of Alabama-Birmingham sociologist and principal investigator Shelia Cotten, Ph.D., will examine the extent to which access to the Internet and the use of social networking sites by seniors in assisted living facilities enhances their personal interactions and relationships.

“With increasing numbers of older adults living in long-term care facilities and declines in quality of life as people age, we need innovative ways to lessen these negative impacts and to enhance quality of life,” Cotten said.

UAB graduate students will train 300 senior adults at 15 Alabama assisted-living facilities to use the Internet, e-mail, Facebook and other social media networking sites. The residents also will learn about blogging, online groups and ways to evaluate online health information.

Cotten says a primary benefit of the study is that it will help decrease inequalities in access to health information due to age-related declines in mobility. An increasing amount of health information is available electronically, says Cotten.

“Once older adults cross the digital divide, they can access health information much more easily using the Internet than they can go to the library or visit a health-care professional,” she said.

Source: University of Alabama-Birminham

Social Media for Elderly Depression

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). Social Media for Elderly Depression. Psych Central. Retrieved on December 19, 2018, from


Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 6 Oct 2015
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 6 Oct 2015
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