Connecting never goes out of style and seniors are making their presence known on the Internet. The Pew Research Center has shown that Internet use among those 65 and older grew a staggering 150% between 2009 and 2011, the largest growth in any demographic group. Additionally, their 2012 study showed that of those that go online, 71% do so daily and 34% use social media regularly. If social media is a house party, seniors might have shown up fashionably late but they are here to stay late and have a good time. Seniors are enthusiastic when it comes to staying connected with friends and family.
More than just a passing fad, research is showing that there are significant benefits to the connection that social media provides. As a resource, CaraVita Home Care wants to give you a few helpful reasons regarding the importance of social media for seniors today.
Ongoing Interaction and Overcoming Isolation
Social media has given us wonderful new ways to stay close. Through social media, families and friends are able to stay aware and engaged in what is going on in the day-to-day lives of people that they care about and seniors are no exemption to this. Grandma is now able to see the latest pictures from her granddaughter’s beautiful dance recital. That first homerun at a baseball game can now be shared with older adults in another state. The interaction provided by social media brings joy to everyone involved and reduces the stress of missing important moments.
Conversations between the generations are growing in frequency thanks to a myriad of platforms that allow for a variety of interactions. Because more conversations are happening, seniors are able to overcome feelings of loneliness and stay happier which impact their overall health. Socialization and the sense of belonging that we all desire and need is being cultivated and advanced in wonderful new ways. This interaction also benefits the families who desire to check in frequently with loved ones. Now a simple touch through social media provides a higher level of peace of mind. Overall reduction in the stress of demonstrating connection is a wonderful attribute of our social media environment.
Gathering and Sharing Information
Far from the “selfie” world of the younger generation, adults spend time connecting with like-minded individuals. Quicker than visiting the local library, or going to a physical town meeting, the older generations have been quick to realize that social media provides a powerful platform to gather and share information. Discussion groups are able to not only provide interaction but an exciting means to hear important news.
Topics can range from health (dementia and diabetes), to safety (medication and checklists), and beyond. Communities have been created by those who are still very much interested in educating themselves and others. Social media gives an incredible opportunity for seniors to share the wisdom that they have accumulated through their lives rich with experience. Social media is the world’s newest classroom. Those that have invested their lives in learning can now be “professors” in this university of social media.
Exercising the Mind
A mind is a terrible thing to waste. One of the most wasteful and possibly harmful practices regarding our minds is simply letting them go stagnant. Research now shows that social media has become a critical way for seniors to exercise their minds. A study out of England and Italy discovered that the elderly, who are trained in the use of social media as well as Skype and email, demonstrate higher cognitive performance and improved health. Over a two-year period, 120 seniors, aged 65 and above, in England and Italy accessed specially-designed computer training and were compared against a control group that did not receive any training. Both the mental and physical capacity improved among those with the training.
Contrarily the control group experienced a steady decline. There were reports from those that received training of feeling “invigorated” rather than “slipping into a slower pace.” The ongoing exercise of our minds has a massive benefit to our overall health.
We recognize that we have mentioned just a few of the many benefits that seniors can enjoy while learning to use social media. As CaraVita Home Care shares the importance of social media for seniors, we are here to help you take advantage of the tools that are available to you today. Be sure to give our social platforms a follow and contact us to learn more.