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How Hospitals Engage Seniors Online

Marianne Aiello, for HealthLeaders Media, November 7, 2012

The Senior Health web page for Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, VA, features an upcoming lecture topic of interest, such as "community memory screenings." The site also links to other online services such as an aging and health library and a senior health guide.

These sites present information to seniors in a simple format without assuming they are Internet novices. Each of these hospitals' senior-geared pages uses dark text that is displayed clearly on light backgrounds, with no ads or flashy graphics nearby, as suggested by the National Institute on Aging.

Integrate the web into other popular programs
Sacred Heart offers an online complement to its Senior Spirit healthy aging program, which is free to join and rewards members with discounts, in-patient benefits, screenings, and seminars.

The hospital allows for online registration and posts the program's schedule on a microsite, which features an attractive, age-appropriate graphic. Seniors can also download the program newsletter and follow a Facebook link.

Advertise senior-specific web services
Finally, once you have solved connectivity and availability, you have to let seniors know how to get active on your site. Use simple URLs that are easy to remember, possibly printing them on business cards and handing them out with other materials at senior-specific events.

Most importantly, let seniors know that actively managing their health online can actually help them improve their well-being.

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