The world’s population is aging. Along with it, their physical abilities worsen; they have limited mobility and are not able to process information as fast as earlier. Such conditions affect their participation in social activities, which increase feelings of loneliness, and decrease morale and contentment with life. Moreover, for the elderly, their mental and physical health depends on the emotional and social relationships with their families and friends.
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Which Age-Related Changes are Regarded as “Normal”?
As adult people age, the possibility of developing “normal” age-associated changes that may affect physical performance, such as hearing, vision, and muscle strength, also increases. The term “normal” refers to the universal process or tendency of modifications that are characteristic of most of the aging population. Hearing loss – usually, the symptoms of age-related hearing deterioration are limited volume and distortion of sound perception. Elders with hearing problems may turn to several solutions: raise the volume of TV, phones, and use a hearing aid. Similarly, vision aggravation is noticeable when the eye lens becomes thicker. Less light passes through pupils, and pupils become less sensitive to light, So, their opening is reduced, making it harder to see in the dark or adjust to light level changes. Furthermore, worsening physical conditions such as muscle weakness make older people more vulnerable as it interferes with functional capacity. People tend to gain weight in their middle ages because muscle mass declines and the proportion of fat increases. However, after 75 years, they usually lose weight, as their bodies need fewer calories.
Elder People Should Stay Active Socially
The idea that older adults should stay active during their retirement period is influenced by activity and continuity theories. The “activity” theory refers to coping issues, such as preserving roles, productivity, functions, and status. Furthermore, this theory offers one way to solve these issues – to stay active by operating for paid jobs and maintain productivity. Meanwhile, “continuity” theory focuses on maintaining a consistent behavior during aging, as a person replaces lost roles and statuses with similar ones. According to this theory, insularity is a typical way to adapt to the environment.
Other Related Theories
However, these theories mainly focus on physical and cognitive activities, ignoring several social variables like personality, race, and gender. These loopholes can be fixed with the help of social exchange and political economy theories. According to social exchange theory, an older adult, representing the minority of a group and being isolated, may lose the will to contribute to society, as the balance between social benefits and withdrawals is demolished. Meanwhile, “political economy” theory concentrates on social class and economic imbalance and considers that experienced inequality during the young age is reinforced as the person gets older. Thus, the social and political theories are more likely to contribute to the idea that African Americans, more senior women, are the most inferior group in society than the theories that only focus on health and activities.
How Will Social Media Help Elderly People to Stay Active?
While getting old, adults may face several physical, emotional, cognitive, and psychological difficulties. To successfully overcome these obstacles, they can turn to several ways:
- Receive education and retrain memory.
- Follow a healthy, nutritious diet.
- Stay physically active, as exercises can improve executive function, including physical performance and functioning skills such as verbal, thinking, and problem-solving abilities.
Information and communication technologies can be used to help reduce feelings of loneliness and increase the mental health conditions of older adults. One problem that the elderly may face on social media is their inability to recognize the difference between sales and marketing methods used online, and they may fall prey to marketers of all industries on social media. The accessibility of social media applications makes it easier for them to communicate and share information with family and friends through text, voice, video calls, and images. Which, as a result, will grant them a sense of belonging and strengthen their bonds with relatives. Fundamentally, social media can be even more efficient for elders with restricted mobility and for those who are far away from their families. Despite time and place, they will preserve social connections that would otherwise be hard to maintain.