The number of older individuals taking advantage of social media is growing every day. According to Mashable.com, there are quite a few tech-savvy seniors bucking the trend that Facebook and Twitter are just for the younger generations. In fact, in an article published by Mashable.com, “about 34% of Internet users age 65 and older use sites such as Facebook and Twitter — and 18% of this group do so each day.”
And actually, social media can offer a lot of benefits for seniors who find it harder to get out of the house. Thanks to the website Senior Care Corner, we here at Freedom Home Care have five compelling reasons that older individuals should give social media a try.
1. Social Media Can Keep Families Close
“I wish I heard more often from my children/grandchildren” is a common refrain of seniors. You’d think that with seemingly everyone carrying their own phone, calls to senior loved ones would be more common than ever. However, those phones are used less for making phone calls than for connecting by other means, particularly social media. More and more seniors are realizing that going where their family members are going, most frequently Facebook, makes it easier to link up and keep up with what is going on in the lives of loved ones. It also makes for more frequent and comfortable conversations (or “convos”) between generations than most would experience if the phones were used simply for calls. So, yes, the first reason social media is for seniors is to stay closer to family.
2. Social Photo and Video Sharing
With the overwhelming majority of photographs now digital, sharing of memories is now easier than ever through social media. More and more pictures are shared every day by users of Facebook, Twitter, Flickr and other social media sites. Grandparents can go online now and see pictures taken just moments before by their grandchildren, creating a feeling of closeness that was never possible with mailed photos.
Home movies have always brought family to life even more than photos, but video sharing took effort and saw delays, even with video cameras and VCRs. With many phones now coming with a video camera, even more videos are being taken by family members and, like pictures, are being quickly posted online. Seniors are now getting fresh “home movies” on YouTube, Facebook and other sites. Yes, some of those videos are not always activities you want to think of your grandchildren as doing, but that is their life — even more so than the snippets Mom or Dad might have captured in the past with their movie cameras.
3. Coupons(!) and other Discounts
Everyone likes saving money, not just seniors, though for many older Americans on fixed incomes getting a deal is essential and not just a fun thing to do. Social media provides access to many opportunities to save money, whether it’s discount offerings by companies on their Facebook pages, coupons shared between Twitter users, or the deals offered in many communities on Groupon, just to name a few. Not only can going social be fun, but profitable as well.
4. Peace of Mind
Seniors and their families often live far apart today, which can lead to anxiety on both sides, particularly when the older family members are living on their own. We have all heard, or even experienced, stories of elderly family members falling in their homes, missing critical prescription drugs, or going without eating for days — all without any knowing until it became a serious problem. Social media gives seniors and their families a convenient way to check in daily, or on whatever frequency is desired, creating peace of mind on both ends of the communications.
5. Community Belonging
The importance of socializing as part of a community cannot be overstated, particularly for seniors spending much of their time living isolated at home. It can be critical for those unable to get out of the house to be with others. Social media provides the opportunity to have and be a friend, to congregate without leaving the house, to never be alone even when you are the only one in the house.