Let's begin first with the caveat that, while being useful in some circumstances, the Internet is no substitute for life-giving face-to-face social interactions.
The Covid-19 pandemic changed everything for Life Coaching for seniors when the American Psychological Association (APA) approved email for use in counseling. Email journaling, simply writing in an email your thoughts and feelings to understand them more clearly, can be a way of dialoguing with your coach to help you refine your thinking until you reach your desired outcome.
Journaling should not be confused with what's known as expressive writing, which is the method of spending 15-20 minutes daily writing down as quickly as possible your very most secret intimate feelings for only you to see, and then immediately destroying what you have just written.
To begin an email 'session', it can sometimes be helpful to use expressive writing as a basic platform and flesh it out, describing those thoughts that are pertinent to your desired outcome, without revealing anything you don't want to.
Everyone has experienced saying something that didn't come out quite the way they intended and wished it could be taken back or refrained from saying something when it ought to have been said. Well, writing out an email gives you the chance to change either one of these regrets because you can think it over before hitting the Send button, and it's one of the things that makes email the ideal medium for working with a Life-Coach. For this and for the following reasons, I am convinced that the use of email, while not for every situation/senior, is actually an ideal medium to provide life coaching for seniors.
2) Makes appointments a thing of the past
3) Empowers seniors with disabilities
4) Meeting place always available
5) Universally available
7) Healthy way to communicate
8) Great thoughts are not lost
9) Gives time to think
Email can be private and secure, and it is for this reason I prefer using Protonmail.com. Protonmail offers two-way encryption security and is HIPPA compliant, the highest standard for a confidential digital environment. [Note: I have no other vested interest in Protonmail.com.]
2. Makes appointments a thing of the past.
Using email for your life-coaching sessions, you choose the time and place convenient for you; appointments are not required. We've all had an occasion where something more immediate has interfered with an existing appointment.
A pre-scheduled face-to-face life-coaching appointment doesn't mean that you, or your coach for that matter, are at that moment in the mindset or feel like a deep reflection process. Using email means you can choose the time when the mood strikes you, not the demand of an appointment.
Interact from anywhere at any time 24/7. I have worked for clients from a variety of time zone while I've been in New York, Canada, France, Italy, and Australia. That's a lot of freedom from the pressure of the clock!
3. Empowers seniors with disabilities.
Anyone with even a slight degree of impaired hearing knows the difficulties in understanding every word of a conversation and may misunderstand the thought being expressed by whoever they're listening to. Hearing impairment is one of the most significant causes of seniors slowly isolating themselves. Communicating in writing can overcome this problem.
Having a speech impediment can be another factor that makes conversations
difficult, and discourage personal interactions. Email offers a solution.
Personal mobility, e.g. getting to and from a meeting with someone, can often be a barrier. Even moving around within one's own home can make it inconvenient to have visitors. Again, communicating in writing can be a solution.
4. Meeting place always available.
You don't have to contribute to the cost of rented space.
You don't have to worry about a place to meet privately. Any location other than your 'home' is never, let me repeat, is never neutral. You are always either consciously or unconsciously perceiving and being influenced by literally everything in your environment. Sometimes you're guided away from your intented subject matter.
5. Universally available
Email is available on smartphones, tablets, laptops, desktop computers. And a great thing is that you don't even need to own one of these devices yourself. Email is transmitted over the Internet, giving you the ability to be "in session" with loaned or borrowed devices, e.g. the library or friend.
Email allows you to transact on a level playing field. Visual impressions of race, gender, age, socioeconomic status, appearance, physical impairment, or environmental factors are irrelevant.
7. Healthy way to communicate
"By helping people manage and learn from negative experiences, writing strengthens their immune systems as well as their minds. Writing is no stranger to therapy. For years, practitioners have used logs, questionnaires, journals, and other writing forms to help people heal from stresses and traumas.
Now, new research suggests expressive writing may also offer physical benefits to people battling terminal or life-threatening
diseases. Studies by those in the forefront of this
research--psychologists James Pennebaker, PhD, of the University
of Texas at Austin, and Joshua Smyth, PhD, of Syracuse
University--suggest that writing about emotions and stress can
boost immune functioning in patients with such illnesses as
HIV/AIDS, asthma and arthritis." From: Writing to heal, by Bridget Murry, APA
8. Great thoughts are not lost.
As you 'write' out your reflections, you automatically save your thoughts, creating a record of previous sessions. In the process of composing your 'email session', you will undoubtedly have great insights that you will want to hang on to.
9. Gives time to think.
Phone conversations engage several senses less completely and demand a great deal of interaction on our part, and in some ways, the same can be said of videoconferencing. Responding is demanded and possibly without enough time to really think it through before speaking with either of these.
Face-to-face meetings are a little different.
First of all, it is impossible not to be influenced by another human being and on many levels.
To "interact," by definition, is to participate in a give and take relationship with another human being, with the common convention of necessarily reponding in a timely manner.
Whether 'phone', 'videoconferencing' or 'face-to-face' our thinking can be directed by the other person's response, which may or may not be along the same line as you may have intended. Have you ever said, "...what were we talking about?", I certainly have.
Writing out an email avoids the pitfalls of either these two mediums and allows time for reflective/introspective responses, offering an opportunity to complete a chain of thought without interruption by the interests, well intended or not, of someone else.
As above, it is impossible not to be influenced by another human being and on many levels, e.g. our appearance, their appearance, age, gender, race, religion, disability, what we do or don't possess, how we keep house, etc. on. We can keep all of these things private. You can be "in session" without caring, "...what I look like!" No room for predujice to come into play here!
With 'email sessions' there's no need to reveal to anyone else what you're doing unless you choose to do so. No award encounters in a waiting room or parking lot. See Confidentiality Statement