When most people hear ‘social media,’ seniors don’t typically come to mind. However, seniors aged 65 and older represent one of the fastest growing age groups to use social media, according to NPR and the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project. In fact, seniors are the fastest growing demographic on Facebook today. Older adults are learning that social media sites are easy to access and are user-friendly. They are also catching on quickly to all the benefits social media has to offer them. We’ve laid out 5 of the top benefits of social media for older adults.
1. Keep in touch. Social media sites such as Facebook offer seniors many ways to stay in touch with friends and family and to reconnect with people from your past. By keeping in touch, older adults can avoid feelings of loneliness and isolation that sometime occur as you age.
2. Improve relationships. Younger generations are heavily active on social media making it perfect for grandparents to stay in contact with their children and grandchildren when more traditional forms of connecting aren’t available. Social media provides a deeper look into the lives of others including their interests and hobbies giving seniors a wider range of topics to talk about with their children and grandchildren. It also increases more regular communication.
3. Learning opportunities. Social media delivers a plethora of information from news to educational content. Seniors are able to find new interests, learn about what is going on in their communities, and find ways to get involved or volunteer with social media.
4. Life enrichment. Even the games promoted and featured on social media sites are beneficial. According to a 2013 study in Computers in Human Behavior, seniors who participated in casual games on social media sites reported less depression and better overall well-being including health and social functioning compared to non-gamers.
5. Cognitive boost. Studies have shown that seniors active on social sites, especially Facebook, have reduced stress and are more relaxed. A HuffPost Living article, Facebook Benefits Older Adults By Giving Them Cognitive Boost, Study Says, shows that the research even suggests that learning to use Facebook may have an additional benefit for older adults: it sharpens their mental abilities because it forces seniors to learn new tasks and engage socially.
Social media may seem a little intimidating at first, but for those who give it a shot or dive deeper into it, the benefits are clear. Not sure where to start? Ask your children, a neighbor or the executive director at your senior living community to help. Start reconnecting, strengthening relationships and sharping your cognitive skills with social media.