The 21st Century is a much different world than the world our senior loved ones grew up in. The times and technological advancements have definitely changed. But with change comes some exciting, and perhaps surprising, new ways for connection.
One in three adults aged 65 years or older use social networking sites such as Facebook and according to the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, “the 74-plus demographic is the fastest growing demographic among social networks.” The research goes on to list a few possible reasons for this demographic’s increased interest in social networking:
“There are several possible reasons for online social networking’s increased popularity among older adults. While seniors still rely on email as their main form of online communication, social network sites allow users to reconnect with people from the past, find supporting communities to deal with a chronic disease, or connect with younger generations—all of which may drive social network site use among older generations.“
Social networking sites can provide a much needed connection point for the senior generation, especially those who are homebound. Here are a few reasons your senior loved one may enjoy social networking sites:
1. Connect with family and friends. As stated above, social networking sites can connect us to a college roommate, help us stay in touch with family, and follow the lives of friends from around the world. Sites such as Facebook, allow for seniors to easily stay in touch and even feel involved in the lives of family and friends.
2. View photos and videos. It is said that “a picture is worth a thousand words” and with Facebook, seniors can easily view photos of their new great-grand baby or a video from a wedding they weren’t able to attend.
3. Ability to join groups. Social networking sites, such as Facebook, provide many opportunities to connect with different communities. From support groups providing information and experiences on chronic illness to general interest groups on a favorite hobby social networking sites provide a variety of groups to fit any interest.
Getting started on social networking sites, such as Facebook, may prove a little daunting at first. Help your senior loved one get started by creating an account and walking them through finding friends and family online. With a little help, social networking sites can serve as an unexpected gift to our senior loved ones.
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