Social media isn’t solely a millennial craze filled with selfies and hashtags. In fact, as of 2015, Pew Research Center reported 35 percent of adults 65 years of age and older use social media compared to the mere 2 percent who used it a decade ago. This jump can be attributed to the fact technology continues to improve, so much so that we’ve gone mobile. Due to the introduction and continuing rise of smartphones, tablets, and other mobile devices, we can connect on the go.
Younger generations are showing seniors the lay of the land when it comes to social media and how best to use it. While seniors may not be using popular social networks like Facebook, YouTube, or Twitter in the exact same ways their children or grandchildren do, they benefit just as much, if not more.
Technology has transformed the ways we communicate and social media offers yet another way for families and friends to keep in touch. There are a number of benefits when it comes to social media for seniors, but here are three reasons to get started in case you are not yet convinced.
#1: It Helps Build Better Connections
Life is busy and schedules get hectic, which means there’s not always enough time to connect with our loved ones as much as we want. By using social media to interact with others, it can help buffer the time between the in-person visits and long distance phone calls we find most valuable. With social media, no one has to coordinate days or time zones, but instead, simply log on and scroll through at their leisure.
#2: It Promotes Active Learning
Many social media platforms have evolved from user status updates and shared photos (although we still like those, too!). They now provide breaking news headlines, interesting articles, online games, and other fun ways to keep seniors entertained. There is a wealth of information right at their fingertips, so they can feel more connected to the world around them. It’s possible you or your senior loved one may still prefer the local newspaper or the nightly news, but social media is a helpful addition to the ways we retain information.
#3: It Nurtures Hobbies
Image-based social media platforms, such as Instagram or Pinterest, provide a perfect place for seniors to cultivate their hobbies. There are thousands of accounts dedicated to popular activities such as scrapbooking, cooking, gardening, and quilting. For active or athletic seniors, there are users who upload images or create boards focused on travel, sports, yoga, and wellness. Not only does it offer a platform for people to spark new ideas and get inspiration; it also promotes a sense of community, which can keep your favorite senior in good spirits and doing something they love.
As a result of social media, seniors can be more actively involved in conversations and collaborations on a grander scale. Scrolling through a digital photo album or seeing a video clip of an important event can make people feel closer with the ones that mean the most to them. And really, that’s the biggest benefit of social media there is.