Do Smartphones Affect Our Mental Health?

In a society advancing rapidly, when it comes to technology, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to keep up. This is the case for people of all ages, ranging from children to elders. But, for older people, it can be extremely challenging to connect with the current technological expectations.

Older adults can struggle with memory problems and those with Dementia have difficulty with cognitive issues. They struggle with basic daily life skills, let alone the nuances associated with using a smartphone. Here’s how smartphones can impact an older person’s life and our world at large.

What is Dementia?

Dementia is characterized by a loss of cognitive functioning. The condition impacts a person’s ability to think, remember, and reason; they’re unable to engage in regular daily activities because their cognition is impaired. Some people with Dementia struggle to regulate their emotions and have noticeable personality changes.

If you’re interested in learning more about Dementia, check out this section of articles on BetterHelp. People with Dementia have unique challenges and using technology can bring up those impairments. One of the major issues is a person’s problems with memory. 

I forgot my password

With the many apps we have on our smartphones, it can be difficult to recall your password for each one. It’s frustrating when you’re trying to login into your banking app and can’t recall the collection of letters, numbers, and special characters you used. If it’s hard for you, imagine how it must feel for an older person who is experiencing Dementia.

They need to do something that should be simple, check their bank balance, but the gate to the financial institution is locked, and their memory won’t give them the key to open it. Forgetting a password may cause a minor inconvenience to someone without cognitive issues but can be extremely upsetting to an older adult with Dementia.

Frustrations with technology and Dementia

When a person with Dementia struggles with their smartphone, it can cause other emotional problems. They may have anxiety using the device. When they’re anxious, they might avoid using the smartphone because it makes them feel uncomfortable. They may feel a loss of confidence or low self-esteem because they cannot use a technological device.

Their cognitive impairment isn’t their fault, but when they’re watching others use a smartphone with ease and they can’t do it, it could make them feel inadequate. Another issue that could come up is difficulty asking for help. 

Older adults, smartphones, and independence

As an older adult, an individual wants to maintain their sense of independence. When a person struggles with Dementia and cognitive impairments it threatens their sense of being autonomous. If they’re expected to use a smartphone, and they can’t do it, they may want to ask for help but feel too ashamed or resentful to do it. An older person wants to be able to operate their phone alone.

They want to be able to use apps like the rest of us. It could feel like defeat to ask someone for help, as if they’re defective in some way, because their cognitive skills aren’t all there. The reality is that everyone struggles with technology, even if they don’t have Dementia. We’re all trying to learn about the latest phones and apps out there.

It can be overwhelming, and whether you have Dementia or not, it’s okay to ask for help when you’re trying to figure out how to do something on a smartphone.

Smartphones, Dementia, and isolation

Smartphones are supposed to keep us connected to the world. We’re connected through apps on social media, chat functions, text messages, and phone calls. These features can be great for older adults who want to keep in touch with their families. It can provide a sense of togetherness.

But, when you have Dementia, and you’re struggling to figure out how to operate your smartphone, it might not make you feel so great. An older adult may give up on using the phone, which creates a sense of isolation from loved ones. Perhaps their grandchildren are trying to message them through Facebook, and they can’t seem to figure out how to reply.

That may cause them to feel depressed. It’s okay to ask for help if you’re struggling with using a smartphone because you don’t deserve to feel isolated. 

Accessibility features

The great news is that there are many accessibility features on smartphones that make older adults feel empowered. For example, you can adjust the size of the text on your iPhone so it’s easier to read texts, emails, and articles online.

There are apps that securely store your passwords, so you can find them easily in a safe place if you forget them. Help is out there, and your mental health doesn’t have to suffer because you’re struggling with Dementia and technology use. 

Learning more about Dementia in therapy

If you’re an older adult struggling with Dementia, and your mental health is declining, it’s okay to seek help from a licensed therapist. You could be feeling isolated because of troubles with technology or any other reason.

Therapy can help you. If you’re a loved one of someone with Dementia, you can direct them toward mental health resources if they’re struggling. Everyone deserves to have access to therapy, no matter their age. 

Marie Miguel has been a writing and research expert for nearly a decade, covering a variety of health-related topics. Currently, she is contributing to the expansion and growth of a free online mental health resource with BetterHelp.com.

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