While social media may seem like the younger generation only uses it, that’s simply not the case. According to a 2016 study, 62% of adults 65 and older use Facebook, and that percentage continues to rise. Social wellness is an integral part of a person’s overall health, especially for seniors. Social media can help fulfill a person’s need for community and social engagement. Let’s take a look at five ways it can positively impact the lives of seniors.
1. Use of Social Skills
You have probably heard the saying that people buy cell phones to use solely for social media. While the statement may not be entirely accurate, using a mobile phone for social media opens the door for seniors to become socially active online and puts their communication skills to good use. Not only does this engagement help avoid social isolation, but it keeps the brain busy and sharp.
Facebook, for example, is a comfortable and convenient way to chat with friends, family, and friends from college long since forgotten. It’s also makes chatting with grandchildren easy. A simple comment on a photo or conversation in Facebook messenger can go a long way to maintain the connection between family members because these ways are quickly becoming the standard means for all generations to connect. Next time you are around an older relative, offer to set them up on a social platform like Facebook.
2. Community Engagement
It is quite common for seniors to feel lonely and isolated as they become older, it becomes difficult for them to attend every family event and social activity that is happening. An excellent place for them to feel connected and engaged again is on social platforms.
A recent report shows that Facebook has 2.2 billion monthly active users as of April 2018. With that said, there aremany safe and engaging activities to participate in on Facebook. This includes everything from local community groups, to playing games like SongPop and FarmVille. These types of activities provide an opportunity for a person to communicate with friends or even connect in conversation with new ones.
Another perk of a parent or family member engaging on Facebook is learning more about local activities and events happening around them in their community. Many local organizations communicate to fans through social media. It’s common for upcoming social events to create ‘Facebook Events’ and share news.
3. A Place to Share Memories
Social media is commonly used for sharing special moments and documenting memories that will last a lifetime. On platforms like Facebook or Instagram, people upload photos of their family trip to Greece, a recent birthday party, or memories from the first day of school. If there is something memorable happening in a person’s life, chances are it will be uploaded on social media.
Grandparents especially like to cherish and see as many photos as possible of family members. It becomes a lot easier to share these moments with loved ones who are active online.
4. Connected with Family
Whether a loved one lives in another state or in a community a few blocks away, they can easily feel distant and even anxious at times. Before social media, communication was limited to phone calls, letters, or in-person visits. While these are all still fantastic options for connections, they are not always the most practical. However, if a senior is on social media, they will be able to send a quick ‘hello’ by using Facebook Messenger, Twitter Direct Messages, or Instagram Direct Messages.
Through these tools, it is possible to send a quick message to loved ones to see how their day is going or to make sure they did not forget about their appointment they scheduled for later this week. Social media will bring peace of mind and connectedness that may have been missing in these family relationships before.
5. Learn New Things
Lastly, social media is the perfect place to discover new places, learn a new hobby, and ask questions! Whether someone uses it to look up reviews on a new restaurant that opened up down the street, read about exciting world news, or watch videos about doing a project out of pallet boards, there’s always something new. All of these options open up avenues for a loved one to continue learning new things and staying inspired.
Social media is something we use on a regular basis at Brickmont Assisted Living. We’ve seen firsthand the impact it can have on a senior’s life. We love to connect with our friends, residents, and their families on social media and enjoy when we receive a sweet message from a resident’s family member on a photo we shared or a 5-star review from the resident themselves. Connect with us today by visiting our Facebook page!