Resources for Family Caregivers of Seniors
5 Benefits of Social Media for Seniors – Let’s Help Them Get Online!

5 Benefits of Social Media for Seniors – Let’s Help Them Get Online!

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Too old for social media?

Don’t let anyone tell you – or your senior loved one – that, because it’s not possible!

Growing numbers of older adults are proving that every day.

Survey after survey reflects more senior Americans, including those in the most elderly groups, participating in social media.

That being said, their numbers still lag behind other age groups.

Seniors are jumping on board Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and more as they realize it is fun and provides real benefits.

Are your senior loved ones participating?  We can think of several reasons for them to do so, especially for those living on their own (aging-in-place), but there are benefits for those in senior care or living facilities as well.

5 Benefits of Social Media for Seniors (and Family Caregivers)

(1) Social Media Keeps 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) Family Social Photo and Video Sharing

With the overwhelming majority of photographs now digital, sharing of memories is now easier than ever through social media. Increasingly, 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 memories 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, 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) Online Coupons & 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 we’re seeking discount offerings by companies on their Facebook pages, coupons shared between Twitter users, or the deals offered in many communities on Groupon and like sites, just to name a few.

Not only can going social be fun for our senior loved ones, but profitable as well!

(4) Family Peace of Mind

Seniors and their families often live far apart today, which can lead to anxiety on both sides, particularly when the elder family members are living on their own.

We have all heard — and too many have even experienced — stories of senior family members falling in their homes, missing critical prescription drugs, or going without eating for days, all without anyone knowing until it became a serious problem.

Social media gives seniors and their family caregivers 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 Engagement and 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.

Just Scratching the Surface

There are even more reasons if those five are not enough for you to get your senior loved ones engaged with social networks and the world available to them there.

What are YOUR reasons for being on social media, if you are? If you’re not, you might just find there are benefits for you as well as your loved ones!

Have we missed any social media benefits you and your senior loved one have shared, or you if you are a senior yourself? We’d love to hear what you think.

By the way, speaking of social media, you can find us on Twitter — @SrCareCorner for Kathy and @BarryBirkett for Barry — and  and on Facebook at SeniorCareCorner. Be sure to follow us on Twitter and “Like” our Facebook page to keep up with our latest updates.  Of course, you can also sign up for email updates or our RSS feed.

So many ways to keep in touch — hopefully we have one that meets your needs. If not, please let us know!

Let’s keep helping our senior loved ones get connected, too!

42 Responses to 5 Benefits of Social Media for Seniors – Let’s Help Them Get Online!

  1. Nicely written article. Yes, at some point each of us (hopefully) realizes that relationships are ultimately what matter most.

    Social media is at its best when it deepens relationships. It takes a little while to learn how to get the most from each channel… but it can be worth the investment!

    { twitter = @danenow }

    • Thank you for the kind words. Your statements about social media are right on target, especially for those who may have limited ability to socialize with others outside their homes.

  2. It’s true that there are many benefits to using social media, but it’s also good to be aware of potential dangers. Providence Life Services just posted a blog that would be a good counterpart to this one: “5 Facebook Safety Tips for People Over 55.”

  3. So true! And if there is someone in the flesh who can work out all the details of subscriptions and feeds, and prevent any sense of being overwhelmed, I think it’s even better.

    That’s what my VA does for me… straightens things out, helps me with efficiency, streamlines. There must be resources specifically for seniors to get assistance with these things, too?

    • Thank you for your comment! There are no specific resources of which we are aware of this type for seniors, though there are classes in many communities on social media. Many rely on family members to get them up to speed on computing but may have no day-to-day resources close by them.

    • Thank you for your comment. We need to find ways to make social media comfortable for seniors so they can keep up with their families.

    • Thank you for sharing. We certainly agree that connecting is beneficial — both for seniors and their family members!

  4. […] The art of selecting a computer for senior loved ones was redefined going into the 2012 holiday season by Microsoft’s introduction of Windows 8 and the accompanying announcements of new computing devices utilizing the Windows 8 touchscreen capability. Among the beneficiaries are older adults and the family members seeking to demonstrate how easy it is to gain the benefits of going online and participating in social networking. […]

  5. I am 70 and would like to get on a social network but I am not a real technical person. Social media has its own vocabulary and technical stuff for seeing things etc and I have no children who can help me. Is there a “how to” book on getting on social media, do’s and don’ts etc. so I don’t wind up being scamed. I tried to google that and on but all the books are about marketing your “brand” and assume I am already on a social network. Help!!!! Is there a site or a book that can get me started????

    • Hi Cherl! Thanks for visiting Senior Care Corner. We plan to prepare our own how-to’s but in the meantime I recommend Facebook and Twitter For Seniors For Dummies by Marsha Collier. If you haven’t ready a “dummies” book before, it’s not meant as an insult but to most are great books for those who are beginners. Also, we know Marsha Collier and she knows her stuff and is great at communicating. Hope you find this helpful.

  6. Recognizing that the stress you are experiencing can sometimes lead to depression is the first step to preventing it — and burnout. To take that step, talk about your feelings, frustrations, and fears with the palliative care team’s social worker or mental health professional. Talking helps you understand what’s going on for you and for the person in your care. It helps you come to grips with the fact that you are not in total control of the situation.

    • iris i like your comment on people in nursing homes and senior iiving communties . keep up social media. i am trying to learn. thank you for your comments and words of encouragements

  7. I qualify as a Senior American-a Baby Boomer and I always say that if I have to one day go into a nursing home, it better have great wifi and all of the up-to-date technical stuff I want, as I will need them when I am not rocking out to old Jimi Hendrix music. All kidding aside, in my coaching with some in their 70’s and one in her 80’s, we had to work together to unblock their fears about the computer and social media and getting connected definitely has enriched their quality of life. They were widowed and lonely and now feel much closer to far-away relatives and have sought out and reconnected with old friends.

    • We are so happy when we hear older adults are connecting and realizing the benefits of technology! Thanks for sharing their stories. We also want to have all the bells and whistles if ever we find ourselves in a facility. Many are changing and have technology advances available but more could get on board. Thanks for your comments Iris!

  8. Hello to every body, it’s my first visit of this
    web site; this website contains awesome and truly excellent information in favor of readers.

  9. Hi there! Would you mind if I share your
    blog with my facebook group? There’s a lot of folks that I think would really enjoy your content.
    Please let me know. Cheers

    • Sharing is encouraged with the source listed so others can find our information again and read more articles. We aim to help all caregivers! Thanks!

  10. Thanks for putting this out there. With parents in their 80’s and aunts and uncles the same, it is wonderful to have them on Facebook – sharing photos, keeping in touch – my gosh where we have come from when we used to plan monthly calls home to avoid long distance charges !

    I also think that the “younger seniors” can take some coaching in the strenghts of social media. Perhaps many in my age bracket (mid 50’s) have been jaded by early thoughts on social media. I was an eraly adopter and a huge beliver in networking – work and personal. I tend to find that many others in their 50’s find it as a “young person” phenom and diss social networking. There is a great opportunity for these earlier retirees to embrace social for what it can mean as keeping in touch with family and friends.

    Thanks for the article.

    Regards FERG @FergDevins @DevinsNetwork

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