Technology-based Services for an Older Population


The revolution in technology, especially in the pandemic, has produced the surge in the use of tele-health. We are posting the following guest column by Elana Marcus to spark discussion and to make people aware of these services. There is a growing interest in the use of zoom and other platforms for consults etc. please make sure you check with a provider re: any state restrictions on the use of such technology. in addition to physical and mental health opportunities, we are also seeing a rise in the use of such technology for consults on spiritual growth and concerns. Would you be interested in having Jewish Sacred Aging® provide such a service?

Two years ago, at the start of the pandemic, the world was introduced to online platforms that could transport us virtually to our medical/mental health appointments, social gatherings, religious services, and so much more. It was a steep learning curve for many of us, but here we are, two years later, masters of the online virtual platforms.  

Technology can be a blessing but it can also be very frustrating, especially to the older population. It can be difficult to keep up with all the changes/updates as well as the complexity that comes along with mastering a new skill. This is also a reflection of the current times: they are always changing. The older population can have a hard time adjusting to change especially when it’s happening all at once. Change can feel overwhelming.

The transition from in-person to virtual everything means fewer human interactions. This also means existing in an unfamiliar space, causing many emotions and ultimately an increase in mental health disorders.

For the aging population this was particularly hard. Many of the daily routines that had been habitual were now nonexistent and elders were left figuring out how to fill their days (safely) on top of learning a new skill, and mastering the virtual world. For so many there was an increase in isolation as well as avoidance of medical/mental health appointments.

In today’s world telehealth (medical) and teletherapy (mental/physical health) can be vital in keeping our connections strong. The aging population often faces isolation without a pandemic but many are finding they are more and more alone and lonely living in a pandemic. 

But these virtual medical/mental/physical health appointments keep us engaged in our daily routines in a different way. When I am doing a teletherapy session with an elder I often hear how helpful it was just to talk to someone about day-to-day life. And now there is an abundance of activities and skills one can do virtually, including but not limited to, playing mahjong, bridge, support groups, and book groups.

Telehealth/teletherapy is especially valuable to those who have medical or physical limitations. The accessibility virtual services provide can allow those with limitations to have medical appointments without the hassle of scheduling transportation or relying on others to get them to and from activities and/or appointments.

If you or someone you know is interested in igniting change from the comfort of home, please contact me using the information below. I am eligible to see NJ residents until 1/11/22 and I am in the process of obtaining an ongoing NJ social work license.

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