While nothing replaces the comforting aspect of face-to-face conversation, social media, when used correctly, is a valuable tool that enhances the quality of life and aids communication. At Senior Lifestyle, we use various social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter to share information with our residents, families, team members and the communities we serve. One of the most delightful advantages of sharing the pictures of an event in a senior community in Pittsburgh or Peoria on social media is that a family member in Potosi or Petaluma can enjoy those pictures as well! Families may be separated by geography, but social media can help to erase some of the distance, a worthwhile benefit for our residents and families.
While seniors have traditionally not been large consumers of social media, that seems to be changing. In an article written for Huffington Post, Anita Kamiel, R.N, M.P.S., founder and owner of David York Home Healthcare Agency, shares that in a two-year span, Internet use among those 65 and older grew 150 percent, the largest growth in a demographic group. 34 percent of those seniors are users of social media such as Facebook. Seniors are using these tools to connect with family across the miles, to research issues that impact them, and in many cases, to re-visit destinations they’ve traveled to in the past through pictures and online “travelogues.”
While many seniors are joining the online world, some continue to say that they just don’t see the benefit of social media and having an online presence. Some feel intimidated by technology, but with the advent of computer systems designed specifically for seniors, this no longer has to be a hindrance for those interested in learning more about social media.
Some benefits of using social media for seniors include:
- FAMILY CONNECTIONS
For seniors thinking “I wish I heard from my family more often,” social media is a great tool. Feelings of isolation have often been a leading cause of depression for seniors, and in a world where seemingly everyone has a phone on their person, this can be remedied. Skype calls, shared photos on Facebook and video “home movies” on Facebook can bring families closer across the miles.
- ONLINE COUPONS & DISCOUNTS
With the prevalence of online savings through sites like Groupon, discounts offered by businesses on their Facebook pages, and other online opportunities to save, the days of clipping coupons may be past. For seniors on a fixed income, these discounts can add up.
- COMMUNITY ENGAGEMENT
Whether a loved one lives at home or in a senior community, a sense of belonging is vital to well-being. Socializing with like-minded friends, online or in person, brings a feeling of involvement for seniors, especially if the senior is unable to leave home or their community on a regular basis.
At Senior Lifestyle, while we remain advocates of in-person social interaction with our families and friends with daily activities in our communities, we also see the benefits of social media, especially when a resident is able to connect with family across the miles or friends are re-connected online. We encourage you to connect with us online as well. To learn more about our online presence, visit our website at www.seniorlifestyle.com or follow us on Facebook or Twitter; we’d love to connect with you!