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Tech to Foster Connection

More older adults are embracing technology and discovering new ways to help alleviate feelings of loneliness and social isolation. 

According to AARP’s annual technology survey, older adults are video-chatting with loved ones and buying new smart devices that allow them to reach out and connect with the world around them.

Wondering how you can do the same? Here are a few examples of the growing number of technologies and tools that may help you overcome social isolation.

  • Video Chatting

    Video chat apps work on desktop computers, laptops, and smartphones; just make sure everyone you include has the same app installed so you can all connect. There are plenty of free video apps you can use, such as Facebook’s Messenger Rooms, Google Meet, Skype Meet Now, Zoom, or WhatsApp. Schedule a weekly phone call with loved ones or try one of these fun online group games.

  • Voice-Enabled Smart Speakers

    Using only your voice, you can hear the latest news, delicious recipes, your favorite music, your loved ones on the phone, even  jokes. You can also play all sorts of games like Song Quiz where you guess the titles of popular songs from the past 60 years. If you live alone, smart speakers can become a companion of sorts and give you someone to talk to. When you add the AARP Foundation Total Health “skill” to your Google or Alexa digital assistant, you can listen to helpful information about social isolation, Social Security benefits, housing, nutrition and finances. Learn more about smart speakers here.

  • Online Interest Groups

    To find social groups and events in your community, visit Meetup or Nextdoor. Meetup facilitates thousands of online and in-person “meetups” every day. Want to find people who love dogs, walking or board games? Search the site for a get-together. Nextdoor instantly connects you to other people living in your neighborhood, giving you a forum to share information and learn the latest local news. It’s a great place to discover events near you, find items for sale or being given away, and strengthen connections in your own community.

Another website to explore is Senior Planet from AARP, which offers courses, programs, and activities to help older adults learn new skills, save money, get in shape, and make new friends.

In addition, dating sites like OurTime and SilverSingles are designed exclusively for people over 50. You upload a profile and a photo, and then the sites find you potential romantic matches. Another site, Stitch, allows you to search for platonic friendship matches.

For help learning how to use the latest technology to strengthen and build personal connections, visit Senior Planet from AARP for free online tutorials.

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