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Seniors Going Social

The Impact of Social Media and Technology on Adults over 50

Depression, boredom, and loneliness – these are just three of things often associated with people reaching their retirement age. But with the height of emerging technology we have today, senior citizens may just be able to do away with all that negative stuff and just be living their best years ever!

Everybody is into social media nowadays – and that includes seniors. In fact, a growing number of adults over 50 are seeing the benefits of using technology and social media, giving them better access to communication and sufficient resources for research and entertainment.

That said, more and more seniors are now learning how to use technology and social media. Not only do they have their own email accounts, but they’re now actively doing Google searches as well as browsing Facebook and Twitter newsfeeds and watching YouTube. Obviously, they have discovered there’s so much more they can do with what’s in front of them today – watch videos, read ebooks, articles, and blogs, connect with family, friends, and people they’ve lost touch with, play games, and share pictures.

Demographics of Senior Citizens using Social Media

According to a 2010 report released by All Assisted Living Homes, “39 million people aged 65 and older are using Facebook, Twitter and Skype making them the fastest growing age demographic on these sites.”

Here are a few other interesting facts and figures:

11% of Facebook users are seniors

  • 13% of adults 50 years and above are using Twitter
  • 1,448% yearly growth increase in this demographic age group
  • 1 in 5 of these users log on for at least an hour in any given day

Seniors using Facebook:

  • 40% – connect with family and old friends
  • 30% – share photos
  • 20% – take part in social gaming
  • 10% – join contests and games

Apparently, seniors find social media to be a very accessible resource for gathering health information, reading literary publications, communicating with friends and family, learning and sharing new ideas, or just for plain entertainment.

The Benefits of Social Media for Seniors

  1.    Communication

Using Skype, seniors are now able to contact their family and friends either by video or by voice calls. Facebook, on the other hand, enables seniors to share pictures and videos and have conversations with pals they’ve only last seen since their high school prom. Basically, it’s a communication tool seniors can leverage to both nurture and revive relationships.

  1.    Learning

The Internet is perhaps the best resource/tool anyone could have on this day and age, especially when it comes to education. Seniors, for instance, can easily learn about medical conditions by doing a Google search. Additionally, they can dig into any topic they’re interested in and find a wealth of information about it.

You can always learn new things. The Internet is the best tool for seniors to continue to sharpen their cognitive skills, pick up new ideas, and keep themselves updated with the latest trends.

  1.    Entertainment

Living in senior care homes and being away from family can be pretty lonely. But with social media, not only are seniors able to keep in touch with loved ones, but they also get to keep themselves entertained. They can read e-books, listen to audio books or play games. They can watch their favorite shows on YouTube and even get to watch episodes of old shows like Bonanza or The Honeymooners.

Learning and adapting to technology – how hard is it?

Many seniors barely had TV growing up, much less computers. Hence, using these gadgets, applications, and software may not come as intuitive for seniors as for the new generation. After all, seniors did not grow up with all this stuff.

Consequently, companies like Merrill Gardens, AARP, and SeniorNet are ever ready to provide assistance to seniors as they work through a smoother transition into the use of technology and social media.

Merrill Gardens is an assisted living home with over 7,000 residents in more than 50 communities. Using social media, they are able to connect with their residents as well as allow the residents and their children to connect with each other. In addition, they use their Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts to foster community engagement so residents and their families can take part in the discussion.

AARP stands for the American Association of Retired Persons. It is a nonprofit organization that provides a suite of benefits to their 40 million + members who are 50 years old and above. The association has pinpointed the top four online sites for people aged above 60: Google, Facebook, Yahoo!, and YouTube.

With over 80,000 Twitter followers and over 1 million Facebook fans, AARP knows how to connect with their members, even more than some brands do with the younger market they cater to. AARP’s Pinterest account is also something worth looking into.

SeniorNet is another nonprofit organization that helps educate adults 50 and above about the use of computers and the internet in order to improve their quality of life. SeniorNet offers computer tutorials as well as remote learning programs that allow seniors to hone their computer skills in the convenience of their own homes.

Indeed, we have come a long way in terms of technology, and seniors are now just catching up. It may initially seem difficult for seniors to learn these things, since they may not have encountered some of them before. However, with all the gadgets available today, with all the resources they can easily access, and with all the help coming from organizations and communities aimed at assisting senior citizens, the future of seniors leading happy, well-rounded, and enriched lives may no longer seem bleak and impossible to reach.


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