Social networking sites let our senior loved ones stay connected and active in their communities. We often talk about it and now, thanks to a recent report from the Pew Research Center, there are numbers to back it up.
Why are we so interested in what seniors do online, especially on social media/networking (we use the terms interchangeably) sites? Being actively connected with other community members, whether across the street, across town or across the nation, keeps seniors engaged and social. That can help them avoid isolation, stave off depression and keep their minds active and healthier.
Staying engaged is especially important to those aging in place in their own at home. Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter or Google+ let them get out into the community even if they can’t – or don’t want to – get out of the house.
Seniors Politically Engaged
Seniors, as the Pew report indicates, are involved in civic groups and activities at similar levels to other age groups. That’s true for both non-web based activity and those active on online. This is not a surprise to us, as we see older adults staying involved in those community activities that are important to them, at least as they are able.
While being active in community groups and even speaking out about political issues is popular with all age groups, less than half in all groups reported involvement. That was true for both online and offline activity.
When it comes to users of social networks, however, more than half across age groups are politically active on the social sites. That includes a whopping 57% of seniors who report being social network users.
Yes, when we get senior loved ones active on social media/networking sites they are likely to use those sites to stay connected with the world around them.
Seniors Participating Online
It’s one thing to read and even chat about political and community activities online, but fewer Americans take their participation to a higher level by leaving comments on blog posts or news stories they read or even contacting officials, signing petitions or sending letters to the editor.
While fewer seniors than other age groups do this online, which makes sense because there are still fewer seniors online, more than one in three online seniors report this type or participation. A similar number of older adults report being active participants in political discussions online.
More than simply stating their opinions, a number of seniors are reacting to what they read on social media sites. Almost one in three are motivated to learn more about something they read while half that number go forward and take action on a social or political issue.
Social Media – Senior Good
Sure, not all seniors want to be involved in political issues or even active in their community. Still, it’s great to see many are doing so online — especially when we consider that this is just one of numerous ways our senior loved ones can stay active and engaged via social media sites.
Connecting via the web and social media to the world around them isn’t just for those who would otherwise be isolated at home but has benefits to offer for all seniors. Whether they want to be involved in the issues shaping their (and our) world, stay close to family members, play online games or much, much more, there’s something for them online and on social media sites.
Yes, we are helping our senior loved ones when we urge them — and even equip and teach them, if needed — to become active on social networking sites and the web generally, but we may be doing ourselves and the rest of the family a favor as well. Getting older members of the family on a social network often brings others in the family closer through more regular communications via the messages, pictures and even videos that are shared.
Let’s get our senior loved ones online and active on social media! Need help getting started? Contact us and we can help!