How Social Media is Beneficial for the Elderly

With some elderly participating in the community less as they age due to reasons such as health and physical barriers social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest are becoming a key way to avoid social isolation and ensure they are connected to family and friends and are able to participate in different online communities.

Carers, family and friends could perform a fundamental role in supporting and educating elderly about social media and online experiences. By showing them what they can do online and having conversations about what is available online, including how to stay safe online. This could encourage the elderly to try out social media for themselves and make those vital connections and avoid social isolation.

How is Social Media beneficial to elderly? Check out some reasons below:

  1. Keeping Connected with Family and friends.

Social media sites such as Facebook allow elderly to stay connected with family and friends no matter where they are in the world. It allows them to see posts, photos and videos of their family and friends. This for some could be important in watching their grandchildren grow up and also works the other way where family and friends can see how they are going. They could also use social media to find someone they have lost contact with over the years.

  1. Following Special Interest Groups

Social media allows elderly to join special interest groups and meet likeminded people where they can learn new things and share ideas about a particular interest. This may spark an interest in a new hobby, reignite an old interest or learn more about a life long passion.

  1. Entertainment

Social media entertains the elderly from watching videos, playing games (bridge anyone?) listening to music they love, or reading a blog or taking an e-course. The opportunities are limitless and provide a good resource for the elderly to entertain themselves and avoid loneliness.

Consider a friend of mine who is in her 70’s and is a regular user of Facebook. She has over 250 friends and has posted over 300 photos (including the odd selfie).  Her likes include a number of sports, music, films, books and TV programmes with over 140 other groups she is following. She posts regularly and connects with family all over the world.  Her posts include her grandchildren, her pets (she has a 24 year old cat along with other pets), funny pictures and videos, causes she is passionate about and other proud moments. She is not only active in social media but she is also very active in the community and loves to travel a lot and has been on numerous overseas trips in recent years. Social media is a big part of her everyday life and to have these connections has made life much more enjoyable because of it.

Social media has helped a number of elderly like my friend get connected. However some barriers to this could be lack of knowledge with how to use these sites and technology or access to technology and some security and safety concerns. But with help from other people who support them or family and friends these barriers can become and an enjoyable online experience can be had.

Let me know what your experience has been with social media in the comments below…

About Ruth Dent

Ruth Dent
Ruth Dent is Eleanor and Esther’s Personal Assistant. Ruth is married to Peter and enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, photography, swimming, writing and walking on the beach. She has a Chihuahua called Gidget who is very spoilt and cute. She believes that life should be sweet and simple and that gratitude and kindness are key to your happiness. Ruth is a Sagittarius and her Myers Briggs personality is INFJ. Her favourite colour is purple and she is a vegetarian. She couldn’t live without coconut oil, manicures and inspirational quotes. Her one piece of advice to everyone is to do whatever makes you happy.

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