31 Jan

  Like everything else, the use of the arts for brain health recovery has moved from paper into the electronic world.   

  Traditionally, relatives of people with dementia have relied on old photographs to communicate with their loved ones while stimulating lost memories. Now that tradition has moved to seniors disseminating digital images on social media.  

  Seniors’ use of the internet has been found to be mostly beneficial, according to Sara Shu and Benjamin K.P. Woo in “Use of Technology and Social Media in Dementia Care: Current and Future Directions.” The article was published April 19, 2021 in The World Journal of Psychiatry, found on a National Institute of Health website.  

  The journal article reviews the outcomes of several studies. One study showed that “internet use positively affects cognitive function in late life,” Shu writes.  

  At the same time, the authors note that the way a person uses the internet can offer a sign of decline in a person’s thought process. If they begin to have difficulties searching for keywords, that may be a warning sign.  

  “Changes in how individuals use technology has been identified as an early indicator of emerging cognitive impairment,” the researchers state.  

  Still, the internet is not without its risks. Relatives are often left wondering about their loved ones’ safety.  

   Those concerns are certainly legitimate, according to Laurel McLaughlin in, “Supporting People with Dementia in Safe Social Media Use,” found on Daily Caring’s website, a resource for senior care givers.   

   “It is unfortunately common for accounts to be hacked, data to be shared and viruses spread,” McLaughlin notes.   

  Seniors, particularly those with dementia, may be left at risk if they have trouble remembering passwords or lose track of the posts they have shared. McLaughlin offers a few tips for how relatives can help minimize the risk for their loved ones.   

  For instance, a relative should have a record of passwords. Privacy settings should be checked so they are registered at the strongest level. Also, a relative might ask a few of the loved one’s friends to keep an eye out for suspicious activity. 

  Just a few safety measures like these can help mitigate the internet’s risk for those left vulnerable by dementia.   

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