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The Future Has Arrived: Apps to Help Clients Maintain a Strong Social Network in Retirement


Science fiction once portrayed conversing face-to-face on screen as a glimpse of the future. A tool of tomorrow, this once imaginary technology gave us a look at how we might meet and one day stay in touch with others.

That future has arrived. Today, we can all be sociable in ways never even imagined in those stories. Internet-based applications allow for free long-distance calls on our smart phones, tablets, and computers, including the ability to have a conversation with someone while looking at them. In addition, online dating services have popped up during the past decade to help people meet someone special.

Loneliness can be a major health risk for seniors, and personal interaction can decrease significantly in retirement—especially after the loss of a spouse. You can help your clients avoid loneliness by showing them how to use the latest technologies; using these tools will help them develop and sustain a social network that can improve their mental and physical health.

 

Staying in Touch

There’s a whole host of choices available today for communicating. These apps have removed the cost considerations of long distance voice conversations while adding the ability to include face-to-face contact. 

Here are some of the most popular apps you can share with your clients:

  • Skype: The granddaddy of all video chat applications, it remains one of the most prevalent. It’s device agnostic, which means users will be able to be use it on whatever device they own. Because of this, the application is straight forward and extremely popular.
  • Facebook Messenger: The social media giant added the feature of making video calling to its messaging service. If your client has a Facebook account and uses Messenger (according to Facebook 600 million people do each month), they have instant access to use this tool, too.
  • FaceTime: This proprietary video-chat only works on Apple’s products. But with the impressive level of iPhones, iPads, and Mac computer ownership, it’s become one of the most patronized services for people to place voice and face-to-face calls.

 

Meeting New People

Online dating services have become a popular way for older men and women to facilitate building new romantic relationships as they age. Here are a few you might suggest to your clients if they’re on their own and looking for companionship.

  • Match.com: One of the oldest and most popular online dating sites, this service prides itself on being responsible for more dates, relationships, and marriages than any competitor.
  • eHarmony: Designed especially for long-term relationships, prospective members are matched with others based on traits and values determined from a proprietary questionnaire.
  • OurTime: An online dating site created specifically for men and women over age 50, this service says it’s the go-to for senior singles looking to find a mature relationship.

 

Social media can be good for our health (1:58)

Enabling social connections can have important benefits for health and well-being. A variety commonly used new apps help make that possible.

How You Can Help

Now your job is to help them really understand these tools—what’s available, where to find them, and how they work. Sharing these digital tools with your aging clients to help them stay socially engaged can also benefit you by differentiating your practice. Visit the “5 Ways Technology Will Change How Your Clients Age” landing page for more information. For help bringing these tools to life for your clients, contact your Hartford Funds Advisor Consultant about hosting an educational event today.

 


 

Next Steps:

To learn more about the variety of apps that can help your aging clients maintain a robust social network, check out our client workbook, "The Apps, Sites & Devices Changing the Way We Age," below.

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Please enter your email address to download workbook:

 


 

*Source: How Social Connections Keep Seniors Healthy, greatergood.berkeley.edu, 3/14/14. Most recent data available.

Hartford Mutual Funds may or may not be invested in the companies referenced herein; however, no particular endorsement of any product or service is being made.

The MIT AgeLab is not an affiliate or subsidiary of Hartford Funds.

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