Too old for social media? Don’t let anyone tell you that, because it’s not possible!
Survey after survey reflects that more and more senior Americans, including those in the most elderly groups, are participating in social media — though their numbers still lag behind other age groups. They are jumping on board Facebook, Twitter, You Tube and more (can Google+ be far behind?) 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 (or aging-in-place), but there are benefits for all seniors.
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 vidoe 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 You Tube, 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.
There are even more reasons, of course, if those five are not enough for you to get your senior loved ones on the social media bandwagon. 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? Please leave a comment and share them for the benefit of all of OUR community.
By the way, speaking of social media, you can find up on Twitter @SrCareCorner 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!