The COVID-19 pandemic has upended everyone’s lives, causing a great deal of stress for seniors who are particularly vulnerable to the virus. With the pandemic forcing people to stay home, traditional forms of therapy have become scarce, leaving seniors with few options to manage their mental health. However, with the advent of online therapy, seniors are now able to access professional help from the comfort of their homes.
What is Online Therapy and How Does it Work
Online therapy, commonly referred to as psychotherapy or teletherapy, involves the use of digital technologies such as video conferencing, messaging, or phone calls to deliver mental health services remotely.1 This alternative mode of therapy allows individuals to interact with their therapist virtually rather than in person. Online therapy can take on several forms, including individual sessions, or group sessions. Typically, these virtual sessions last between 45-60 minutes and adhere to a structure comparable to that of traditional therapeutic sessions.
Seniors can access online therapy using their computers, smartphones, or tablets. To get started, they need to search for a reputable online therapist or a therapy platform. Once they find a suitable therapist, they can schedule an appointment, complete intake forms, and select their preferred mode of communication. During the session, the therapist will provide support and guidance just like in a face-to-face session.
The Many Positive Impacts of Online Therapy for Seniors
Online therapy has become an increasingly popular mode of treatment for several reasons, and one of the most significant benefits is that it increases the accessibility to therapy for seniors. Here are some of the positive impacts of online therapy for seniors:
Convenient Access to Therapy
Seniors can often find it challenging to visit a therapist in person, especially if mobility is an issue. However, online therapy eliminates this barrier by providing seniors with access to therapy from the comfort of their own home. This convenience eliminates the added stress and strain of travel, parking, and other logistical challenges.2
Access to a Wider Range of Therapists
Online therapy offers seniors access to a pool of therapists from all over the world who specialize in different areas of mental health. This wider range of options means seniors can receive more specialized treatment and find a therapist who resonates with them.3 Additionally, seniors no longer need to worry about location, as they can receive therapy from anywhere globally, further increasing their options.
Flexibility and Convenience
Online therapy allows seniors to access mental health care from the comfort of their own homes. Seniors don’t have to worry about transportation, parking, or mobility issues that may arise when going to a physical therapist’s office. Online therapy sessions are also more flexible, as seniors can schedule appointments that fit their daily routines. Seniors don’t have to take time off work, find a caregiver or postpone important appointments for therapy appointments. This means they are more likely to stick to the therapy routines that positively impact their mental health.
Online therapy is often more affordable for seniors. Seniors don’t have to pay for transportation, parking fees, or other incidental expenses that come with regular physical therapy sessions. At Total Life, online therapy is accessible and affordable with original Medicare.
Easy Access to Professional Help
A widespread misconception is that online therapy is less effective because it is done remotely. However, online therapy platforms offer access to a broad range of healthcare providers. Seniors can choose the mental health professional that they trust and feel comfortable with, regardless of their location. You can access therapy from your home with just a few clicks. This is particularly impactful for seniors who live in rural or remote areas, who may not have access to mental health professionals in their community.
Increased Anonymity and Confidentiality
Online therapy provides anonymity, which promotes seniors to openly discuss their issues. As seniors are often more hesitant to share their emotional struggles with family members and friends, online therapy provides an extra layer of comfort. You can share problems and feelings without worrying about running into any of your acquaintances on the way to the therapist’s office. Confidentiality is kept at a higher standard with online therapy compared to traditional in- person therapy, ensuring that seniors can enjoy privacy without having to disclose your treatment to anyone else.
Customized Treatment Plan
Therapists might use specific techniques to help seniors with unique mental health concerns such as depression, anxiety, or loneliness. In online therapy sessions, seniors can receive a personalized treatment plan based on their specific needs. Seniors have the option to ask for additional support or guidance from their therapist if they are trying to work on a particular issue or build coping skills to deal with other problems.
With online therapy, there are no physical barriers like distance or illness that might cause appointments to be cancelled or rescheduled. This allows for consistent therapy sessions, which can significantly contribute to the effectiveness of the treatment.
Studies have shown that online therapy can be just as effective as in-person therapy. This means that individuals can receive high-quality mental health care, regardless of their location or circumstances.6
Seniors can communicate with their therapists quickly and interact with other seniors who access online therapy, creating a sense of community. Group therapy is also an option, which can bring about a sense of belonging. Improved socialization possibilities are important as isolation can lead to depression, anxiety, and various other mental health issues.
Common Misconceptions Surrounding Online Therapy
Many individuals, particularly seniors, are still hesitant to embrace online therapy, thanks to a few misconceptions about the service. These misunderstandings can prevent seniors from seeking help when they need it. Here are some common misconceptions surrounding online therapy:
Online Therapy Isn’t Secure and Private
There is a common misconception that online therapy is less secure than traditional in-person therapy. However, online therapy is conducted using various secure and encrypted platforms, making it safe and confidential.4 These platforms adhere to strict privacy laws, which ensure that clients’ information is kept confidential. As such, these platforms feature security measures, such as encryption, to safeguard communications among clients and therapists.
Online Therapy is Unreal and Experimental
Another significant misconception surrounding online therapy is that it is not a real form of therapy and experimental. The truth is that online therapy follows a similar structure to face-to- face therapy. It has been scientifically proven to be effective for the treatment of various mental health issues and beneficial for people who otherwise wouldn’t have access to care.5 Teletherapy’s success rates also continue to increase, making it a mainstream mode of therapy.
Online Therapy is Hard to Access
There is a common belief that only tech-savvy individuals can utilize online therapy. However, online therapy providers have made it user-friendly for everyone, including seniors who have limited experience with technology. Many providers offer technical support and guidance to help individuals overcome any technological barriers they may face when accessing online therapy.
Online Therapy Lacks Personal Connection
Another often-cited criticism of online therapy is that it lacks the personal touch of in-person therapy. Seniors can choose to communicate via video call or phone call, and even via text messaging. This offers seniors better control over their therapy experience as they get to determine the best way of communication that helps them feel more comfortable and heard. Online therapy still provides the same level of professionalism, quality care, and effectivity as traditional therapy.
Online Therapy is Only for Younger Generations
Some seniors think that online therapy is only for the younger generation and may feel out of place using technology for their therapy sessions. However, online therapy is designed to cater to people of all ages and backgrounds. Plus, online therapy may be the perfect fit for seniors who are less mobile or unable to travel to in-person sessions.
Exploring the Different Options for Online Therapy
If you or a loved one is a senior who could benefit from mental health services, let’s explore the different options for online therapy in more detail.
One-on-one meetings with a trained mental health expert called individual therapy, often referred to as “talk therapy” or “counseling,” provide an opportunity for seniors to share their innermost thoughts, emotions, and actions. This type of support can prove highly valuable for older adults dealing with stressful emotions like anxiety or sadness.
Group therapy is a formidable tool that allows elderly patients to collaborate and share experiences with peers going through comparable challenges. A group therapist moderates the conversation, and through group support, seniors can overcome mental health struggles, emotional pain, and loneliness. Group therapy is ideal for seniors who want to connect with others and overcome isolation. Online group therapy sessions are offered in real-time, allowing seniors to interact with other members just like in-person therapy.
Senior citizens may benefit significantly from participation in family therapy when dealing with conflicts between family members or unresolved issues across generations. As a result, families can develop improved communication techniques, learn better coping strategies, and gain valuable insights into family dynamics.
Couples therapy online is an excellent tool for seniors who face challenges in their relationships. Similar to individual therapy, it involves virtual sessions that help couples work through their differences, improve communication, and strengthen their bond. Seniors can benefit from receiving treatment in a private setting, from the comfort of their home. Couples therapy is ideal for those who face issues such as trust, communication problems, lack of intimacy, or other relationship-related concerns.
Caring for a senior can be a fulfilling role, but also very stressful and challenging at times. Online caregiver therapy provides an excellent opportunity to unload and share the stresses of the day. Caregiver therapy is helpful to ease anxiety, reduce stress and burnout, and gain coping mechanisms. Through virtual sessions, caregivers can still seek the help they need, without compromising the time they need to provide care.
Conclusion: The Future of Online Therapy and Mental Health
Online therapy and mental health hold immense potential in the present and future. Seniors can take advantage of this technology for their mental well-being and convenience. Seniors can choose from various online therapy platforms and therapists, cost-effective sessions, and better flexibility while receiving the care they require. In addition, the future prospects of this field bring in more potential for expansion in terms of advanced technological solutions for mental health care. Therefore, seniors should embrace online therapy and mental health solutions for a brighter future.
Total Life is committed to providing quality and compassionate online therapy services for seniors, caregivers, and individuals of all ages. Begin your virtual therapy journey with Total Life today and discover the advantages of remote mental health care. Remember, healing is possible from the convenience of your own home – let us guide you on your path towards complete wellness.