A Resource for Family Caregivers of Seniors
Seniors Engaged in Their Communities – More Benefits of Social Media Activity

Seniors Engaged in Their Communities – More Benefits of Social Media Activity

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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!

9 Responses to Seniors Engaged in Their Communities – More Benefits of Social Media Activity

  1. Ur post, _Seniors Engaged in Their Communities –
    More Benefits of Social Media Activity | Senior Care Corner_ was indeed definitely worth commenting
    here! Merely desired to point out u did a tremendous job.
    Thanks -Nelson

    • Barry Birkett says:

      Thank you so much for saying so, Nelson — and for stopping by Senior Care Corner!

  2. Seniors are the one who have more experience that’s why it is good if we let them share their thoughts and knowledge. Technology nowadays are not hard to learn, even seniors can use it especially social sites which is good in socializing and making friends.

    • Kathy Birkett says:

      Thanks Robert, we couldn’t agree more and feel that the benefits for seniors using technology and social media far outweigh obstacles getting them started. Hope you continue to stop back to find more interesting tech information!

  3. It’s true.

    Seniors want to stay connected with their communities, so our challenge as technologists has to be to lower the entry bar to get as many people involved as possible.

    Tablet-based computing and communities are definitely going to be an entry point for some seniors who are less tech savvy than others.

    • Barry Birkett says:

      Great point about lowering the entry bar, Phil! Thanks for stopping by and leaving your thoughts.

  4. Our computer club for seniors in metropolitan Sydney encourages seniors to engage in social networking, particularly through Facebook – we have a very active “group” and “page”, and we teach Facebook and blogger. We are also keen to introduce seniors who are less techno-savvy to tablets – they are far easier to use than keyboard, mouse and Windows or Mac operating systems. We also need to overcome fears relating to viruses, scams and lack of privacy too.

  5. As a seventy-seven-year-old who took voluntary redundancy eighteen years ago, I can state that these years have probably been the happiest and the most productive of my life. During this time I’ve been involved with quite a number of organisations as a volunteer and it is in the involvement that the joy comes.

    I’ve volunteered at Mission Employment, University of the Third Age (U3A) Computer Pals, and Toastmasters International. I’ve been a member of Probus. Also a men’s group. I’ve gone out presenting stories to over 740 audiences as a public speaker and storyteller. I’m still very involved in Toastmasters and going out speaking to groups.

    In these years I’ve also written half-a-dozen books including my autobiography and have posted hundreds of essays on various websites.

    Oh, and I still go to the gym to train two or three times a week.

    So, my advice to anyone who is a ‘retiree’ is don’t retire. You may be in the autumn of your years, but autumn is, and always should be, a wonderful phase of our lives.

    Enjoy it. You really do deserve it.

    • Barry Birkett says:

      Thanks so much for sharing that, Tom!

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