Navigating Social Media For Seniors

Feb 3, 2017

Navigating Social Media For Seniors

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It’s no secret that communication and social media have made leaps and bounds over the last few decades, and many seniors feel like they’ve been left behind. Landlines and letters are now replaced by texts and tweets. Snapchat, Instagram, and many other social media apps have quickly taken over the communication realm and it’s easy for a senior to become flustered. Social media for seniors is a great way for your loved one to express themselves as well as stay in touch with family and friends.

According to the Pew Research Center, Internet use among those 65 and older grew 150 percent between 2009 and 2011, the largest growth in a demographic group. Furthermore, their 2012 study showed that of those that go online, 71 percent do so daily and 34 percent use social media. While your loved one might assume that social media is strictly exclusive for the younger generation, that’s not the case at all. A few helpful tips and tricks, as well as easy reminders about social media etiquette, will have you or your loved one thriving in the social media world. It’s time take those likes, selfies and retweets head-on.

Social Media For Seniors

Keep A Simple Profile

When you’re embracing social media for seniors, it's important to realize that simplicity is the best practice. When you’re setting up a profile on social media, make sure to include basic information, but nothing that could become detrimental if it fell into the wrong hands. Obviously, name, birthday, and interests are fine, but things like phone number and address should usually be kept offline.

Also, make sure to keep posts appropriate. There have been many cases where families have been torn apart simply because they have disputes over social media posts. Make sure to avoid posting inflammatory content as much as you can.

Use It For Research

This gateway to the outside world is critical once the elderly become homebound. While teens have moved on from Facebook, the older generation has found that it serves them quite well. While most teens will use it as a way to interact with peers, seniors actually prefer to use social media as an educational tool and to find out information. Social media for seniors will enable you or your loved one to find new hobbies, products, or information that is intriguing. While the Internet can seem daunting, there is also an unlimited amount of interesting information to digest.

Keep In Touch

Social media is also a great way for seniors to stay in touch with children, grandchildren, and even great-grandchildren. Video chat has been able to connect millions of seniors with their family over the last few decades, so it’s important to be able to share video and pictures so you and your loved ones can stay connected even when you’re miles apart. Bring relatives right into your living room with apps like Skype and Snapchat. Another big impact that social media for seniors has had is the ability to link up with friends from the past. There have been many cases where seniors have rekindled a friendship or even a relationship after three or four decades. With social media, users can track down ghosts from their past with a few clicks and searches. Aging can get lonely sometimes, so reminiscing with an old friend can be just what you or your loved one needs during the next stage of life.

Entertainment

Another huge reason that seniors love social media is all the entertainment it has to offer. It’s not all just cat videos and funny memes (although those are great too).  Whether it’s playing a simple computer game with grandchildren or watching favorite TV shows from back in the day, your or your loved one will find plenty of entertainment on social media. It’s called “social” media for a reason, so feel free to share content you think others would enjoy as well as interact with peers who have similar interests

Shopping

One of the biggest trends in social media for seniors has been the rise in online shopping. Gone are the catalogs and mailing in checks. Instead, you’ll be able to shop thousands of stores right from the comfort of your own home and make purchases with the click of a button. Many websites will even offer seniors discounts, so make sure to scout out the best deals. However, make sure you or your loved one is conscious of who they’re giving information to. Many frauds and scams originate online and often target seniors.

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