Can you “like” me? Did you “like” that cute video of the babies giggling at the furry kittens? Be sure to “like” that recipe for seven-layer dip so that you can save it to your wall!”
That’s the language of today’s social media for seniors. Thanks to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and all the other social media pages on the internet, families are more connected now than ever before. And, if you think that seniors don’t utilize social media — think again! The fastest growing segment of Facebook users are 65 and over in age.
Social media can be a wonderful tool for aging parents and spouses, who can both get a lot from and contribute a great deal to the worlds of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and the rest. While it’s true that users should exercise caution to avoid scams and giving access to too much personal information, many seniors greatly benefit from social media.
The most obvious benefit is simply the fact that social media is…well, social. True, the people utilizing this means of communication are not in the same room, but it is a legitimate and increasingly valuable way of staying connected, especially with people who live far away. Social media has enabled many people to renew old acquaintances and recapture parts of their lives in a real and vivid manner.
In the old days, aging parents had to wait for photographs to be taken, developed, and mailed in order to see how that adorable grandson had changed since the last time they laid eyes on him. Now, a visit to Facebook or Tumblr enables them to drink in dozens of digital photos or videos – and to view them in a variety of sizes.
Online games, whether word games with friends or solitary card games, can help to keep seniors entertained – and can help keep their brains engaged and sharper.
Going online opens up a whole new world – and not just a virtual one. Seniors who participate in social media may come away with new ideas about activities in which they can engage, especially if an online friend recommends an activity. This can open up new interests and keep aging parents more active.
More and more aging parents, spouses, and others continue to work into their senior years, whether in an office or at home. Using social media helps office workers stay in touch with others in their profession, enabling them to make connections and share information that helps them do their work better. Those running a business from home, whether full-time or simply as a part-time affair, can utilize social media to promote their products or services and grow the business.
The days when social media was only a “kids’ thing” are long past, and aging parents and others are embracing new media. While there are many benefits, seniors and those caring for them need to always be vigilant about attempts to get credit card or personal information. However, when used with appropriate caution, social media can open up new avenues for seniors.