Social Media can be very beneficial for seniors. It provides an instant social network, which helps combat loneliness, isolation, and depression. This is very important because loneliness can have a huge negative impact on the health of older adults, and is associated with increased blood pressure, higher cholesterol levels, and a decrease in cognitive abilities and Alzheimer’s disease.
Another wonderful thing about social media is the connectedness. People have been able to reconnect with old friends, classmates, or family that they lost touch with years ago. It is also great for staying close with family and friends who may live far away – video chatting is more intimate than a phone call, and social media makes it easy to share videos, pictures, articles, and more. It also helps bridge the generational gap to connect seniors with their grandkids, who may be more active on social media.
Social media provides entertainment (let’s admit it – we have all seen and laughed at a cat video on social media). It also encourages hobbies and interests. This is key for seniors who are not very mobile but still want to interact with others who share hobbies – for instance someone can join groups about knitting, have discussions about knitting and share tips, and more! Sometimes new friendships can come from this as well!
Social Media is also educational! There is an incredible nutrition and health food conscious community on Facebook (that we love!), where people post material like recipes, nutrition, food science, health, and more! We love reading those articles and participating in discussions!
Although new technology may be challenging for some, one great way to help reduce confusion is to download a ‘simple’ version of social media, such as facebook, that is more straightforward and easier for seniors to use.