Facebook is not just for the young. In fact, 64 percent
of online American adults between the ages of 50 to 64 use the social media site, as do 48 percent of those 65 and older. While Facebook may be the most popular social media for seniors, it’s not the only one; you can also find older adults on such sites as Pinterest
, and Twitter
, to name just a few
Why Social Media is Important for Seniors
“Facebook can be a lifeline for older adults,” says Jean Coppola, associate professor of information technology and director of the Pace University Gerontechnology Program.
“A lot of older adults are lonely and depressed,” Coppola says. “They may have lost their spouse, and their kids and grandkids live far away. They long to stay in touch with their family. Being online–from checking their email to visiting Facebook–gives them a purpose.”
“Nothing will replace face-to-face visits, but often social media can be the next best thing,” says Brylee Kaye, adjunct professor of social media at New York Institute of Technology. “Families can share photos, videos, live streams, and video chat all over social media networks. Most communities have Facebook group pages where they post information about local events and issues. This can be a great way for older adults to keep up-to-date on what is happening about town.”
Social media engagement, whether on a computer, tablet, or smartphone
to keep up with family and friends is just one reason to get online, according to Coppola. Engaging in hobbies such as scrapbooking, watching videos, and playing games can also offer a greater sense of well-being, improve quality of life, and keep the brain active
“There are even social networking sites like Stitch
, which are dedicated to the needs of people over 50,” says Kaye, adding that social media can be a way to meet new friends, find a new romance, or discover a new activity.
Colin Milner, CEO of the International Council on Active Aging, believes that social media serves a broader purpose as well. “When you see older adults singing and dancing on YouTube, for example, it dispels the myth of what aging is,” he says. “It shows all of us that you can experience life to the fullest, no matter what your age, and it opens your eyes to other experiences.”
Posting on Social Media
Not sure how to get started with social media? Samantha Romano, social media expert at the digital marketing agency Blue Fountain Media, offers this advice:
“First, help your parent decide what he or she wants to get out of social media,” she says. “If they’d like to connect former colleagues, LinkedIn could be the best choice. To see what old buddies from high school are up to, or see what’s happening in the news, Facebook is the best option.”
To learn how to use social media for seniors, start close to home: Ask a grandkid! If that’s not an option, says Jean Coppola, contact a local college and ask if they have volunteer tutors (Coppola suggests that one-on-one instruction allows you to learn at your own pace). Check out your local public library, senior center, or AARP’s Technology Education Center
to find a class near you. Or for online instruction, visit AARP’s Social Media Education Center
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10 thoughts on “The Benefits of Social Media for Seniors”
That’s right dont leave us behind.
The best ever
I am 82 I use Facebook like you said. I am not depressed, my life isbuy, sone weeks busier than I like, my 3 daughters all live within 2 1/2 , 1 1/2 hours and one 40 min. My husband died in oct.i runs home, pay bills, call workmen, learning to pay bills, which I hadnot done for over 30 years, and running a home is a learning experience, insurances, bankingfurnace and air conditioning to worry about getting the van oil changes tires, brakes, etc, I nphave to get a new garage door, someone to tend the lawn, I have a handyman which helps, but it all takes money, so there is finagling there, I play bridge, have a really nice friend who is getting me involved in community. I miss my hubby, but I am not lonely, and I do enjoy alone time. My children are good about checking on me. One comes from Chicago at least once a month for several days at a time. I am good..I love face book, my husband, a music teacher, taught in 4 different communities so we have friends everywhere, I stay in touch with several on Facebook, with my girls and grandkids, I have many of my hubbys students as friends, I love face book to keep in touch. We retiredto a small town on a lake, andmade many new friends here been here 28 years.
Pretty good sails pitch!!
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