There came a day, many years ago now, when teenagers were lamenting the fact that their parents had discovered Facebook. These days, it’s not at all unusual for grandmothers and grandfathers to update their Facebook statuses, tweet witticisms, and share their favorite Youtube videos as well! So today, we’re discussing seniors and social media. How many seniors currently use social media? Which websites do they prefer? Why should seniors venture onto social media so late in the game? And for the seniors who neither use nor understand social media, is it worth exploring?
Seniors and Social Media
Did you know that people over the age of 65 are the fastest-growing group on social media? (source). Although you may know some endearingly unaware seniors who say things like “What’s a Twitter?” and “Can I have a copy of the Facebook?”, the fact is, over half of older Americans use the Internet these days. That number keeps increasing every year, of course, partially because another group of adults turns 65 each year (and many of these younger seniors are already Internet savvy) but also because many older seniors are choosing to give it a shot.
Nearly half of seniors online are active on social networks as well as the Internet, and over 39 million people over the age of 65 use Facebook, Twitter, and Skype (source). Plus, once seniors are online, over 82% continue to go online weekly, making it a part of their regular routine.
So why are more and more seniors venturing onto social media sites? To keep in touch with their families and friends, usually, but also to share their photos. A smaller number of seniors use social media for contests and games. Recognizing that younger generations are fully enmeshed in the online world, seniors often find that Facebook is a great way to keep in touch with their children and grandchildren. Seniors are also using social media to reconnect with old friends (especially those who live far away), typically using Facebook and Skype.
Unfortunately, seniors usually aren’t able to pick up new technologies as quickly as young people (considering the fact that many young people have never known a world without computers, this is hardly surprising!). If you know a senior who is interested in joining a social media website, using e-mail, or simply learning more about the Internet, give them a hand! It may take some patience, but you could greatly enrich your loved one’s life and bring a smile to their face. Or, if you don’t have time to play the teacher, why not sign your loved one up for a computer class? If you search around, you’re sure to find a complimentary computer class for seniors offered at your local library, a nearby school, or even your loved one’s retirement community.
To learn more about introducing seniors to computers, we encourage you to visit this previous blog post, which is full of helpful tips and advice. And if you’re looking for a senior living facility in the Midwest, be sure to check out Hearthside Senior Living Place. Our eight senior living facilities are located in Missouri, Arkansas, and Tennessee, and they all contain computer chat rooms. If you would like to take a tour of one of our facilities, please click here. We look forward to hearing from you!