While our efforts are just beginning to get those in the oldest age groups using social media to achieve benefits for themselves and their loved ones, there is clearly reason for optimism with our future elderly population.
Older adults, those over 55 in this case, are drivers of social network growth according to a newly-released report from Nielsen, “State of the Media: The Social Media Report.” What you may find surprising is that they are driving this growth by accessing social media sites through mobile devices.
Social Networking on Mobile Devices
It comes as no surprise that older adults are accessing social media through mobile applications, given the convenience of smartphones plus iPads and other tablets. Still, it is significant that Nielsen found that the number visiting social networking sites from mobile devices more than doubled over the last year, with an increase of 109%! Granted it is easier to show high growth with lower starting numbers, but that is a meaningful increase for any population group.
Where are internet users going when they’re online? Why Facebook, of course! Not surprised, are you? The time spent on Facebook was more than 3 times that spent on the next most popular website and more than 70 times that spent on the next most popular social networking site. The report does not break down this statistic by age group, but it is safe to think that Facebook is popular with seniors as well as other age groups.
Friends are on Social Media
What does this mean to you as a loved one or caregiver of a senior adult? For starters, it means that your seniors are more likely than ever to be using social media already. If they aren’t, chances are growing that they have friends using it.
When you combine growing use by their peers with use by family members, it is hopefully getting easier to get even the eldest of those for and about whom we care using social media.
Why WE Care So Much About Social Media Use
Regular visitors to Senior Care Corner have certainly noticed a number of posts and podcast episodes on topics related to getting senior loved ones together with technology and social media (at the bottom of this post is a list of some of those) — and those who return will see these topics featured regularly.
We know there are benefits many senior loved ones can get from social media, including:
- socialization with communities of people;
- access to information; and, maybe most importantly for many,
- greater interaction with distant and/or busy family members.
Yes, we consider getting our senior loved ones onto social media (ours are there!) to be a special cause that we will continue to pursue. You can expect to find us talking more about specific technology, interviewing providers and other experts and making available tools and other information to help in the understanding and use of social networks and technologies by seniors. Bookmark our page, get our RSS feed, “like” our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter to keep up with what we do — or just be sure to come back regularly!
If you have questions or if there is specific information that would be helpful, please let us know by leaving a comment here or on our Facebook wall.