Benefits of Social Media and Keeping Seniors Connected
Social media may not have been developed with seniors in mind, but today Facebook and other social networking sites are increasingly dominated by older adults. The best part? It's good for them! There are several benefits of social media for senior citizens. Learn more below and plan on helping your loved one set up a profile the next time you see them!
Reasons to Use Social Media
Reducing loneliness and a strong willingness to be involved in family life are among the most important motivators.
- Keep connected: With sites like Facebook, seniors can be in touch with their kids and even grandchildren. They can also reconnect with friends or long-lost pals. This reduces feelings of isolation common in older adults, and improves overall wellbeing.
- Nurture interests and hobbies: Social media gives older adults another outlet for exploring interests. If your parent loves baking, dogs, or playing golf, they can collect recipes, capture images of puppies or "pin" golf clubs they want to buy on Pinterest. Or, if photography is their hobby, send them to Instagram to share and edit their favorite pics.
- Stay in the know: Today's generation of seniors is definitely not out of touch. Many older adults follow news sites, sports teams, corporations, and people of interest on sites like Twitter. This helps keep aging minds healthy and sharp! Social media can also provide easy entertainment.
Recommended Social Networks
Below are a few of the most used social media platforms and their benefits.
- Facebook: The most commonly used social media site is Facebook. If you want to use social media to stay in touch with loved ones, Facebook offers you access to the most people who may not live near. By staying active and posting updates, pictures, and thoughts, older adults can stay current on the lives of their loved ones.
- Pinterest: Pinterest may not be the most popular social media site, but it provides a wealth of opportunities for seniors, especially those who enjoy crafts and creative projects. This site allows users to share links and pictures by "pinning" them to boards or personal pages. By collecting "pins," users have a collection of different ideas pertaining to their favorite items or projects.
- Instagram: This site allows users to share photographs with their followers, meaning seniors who join can not only create their own photo albums, but they can follow their loved ones to see picture updates of their lives.
- Twitter: Unlike other social platforms, Twitter allows companies, celebrities, and individuals to quickly communicate. For seniors who prefer sending or receiving information in short bursts, this site is ideal. Thoughts are limited to 140 characters, which provides ample opportunity for those seeking quick news updates or interesting links.
- YouTube: YouTube is a free video sharing website where you can find videos of just about anything. There are roughly 500 hours worth of videos uploaded every minute, meaning the content is always fresh and evolving! This site is perfect for seniors who are seeking entertainment or exploration of new interests.
Social Media Best Practices
It's good to know and practice social media etiquette. Here are a few general guidelines:
- Privacy: Don't overshare personal information, or post that you're on vacation. This can make you a crime target.
- Permission: Always ask before you post a photo of someone.
- Choose wisely: Invite and accept friend requests from people wo are actually friends or family.
- Avoid controversy: Don't comment on things like politics or religion, which can be taken out of context.
Social Media All the Way
With its ability to keep people socially active and engaged right from home, social media couldn't be a better tool for older adults. Help your parent or senior loved one get up and running so they can enjoy these healthy benefits!