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 one of our senior communities in Chicago or Charlotte on social media is that a family member in St. Louis or St. Paul can enjoy those pictures as well! While families may be separated by geography, social media for seniors can help to erase some of the distance, a worthwhile benefit for our residents and families.
If you’ve ever spent time chatting with a senior loved one about social media, you’re likely to have heard something like, “I don’t do that Facebook thing; I don’t even like to text!” or “Computer stuff confuses me and I never remember my password!” While seniors have traditionally not been large consumers of social media, that seems to be changing. A Pew Research Center study notes that young adults (ages 18 to 29) are the most likely to use social media – fully 90% do. Still, usage among those 65 and older has more than tripled since 2010 when 11% used social media. Today, 35% of all those 65 and older report using social media, compared with just 2% in 2005. 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:
- FAMILY CONNECTIONS
A common refrain amongst seniors is “I wish I heard from my family more often.” 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 quite fond of in-person social interaction with our families and friends with daily activities in our senior 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!