Did you know that “43% of Americans over 65 use at least one social networking site, compared with 26% in 2010 and 1% in 2008?” according to a PEW research study? Seniors are currently the fastest growing demographic on social media platforms, finding them (and other online tools) valuable assets to leading independent, well-connected lives. According to the PEW study, “Older people are looking to maintain ties with their family, particularly those who live far away. They want to see pictures of their grandchildren. Seniors also look up old friends and connect with people who share similar hobbies. The majority of seniors on social media are using Facebook.”
That’s no doubt in part because Facebook is such a great one stop shop that makes it easy to do a lot of things with one account. You can share pictures, find out about local events, create private groups to talk with family, friends, or your craft circle, share articles and interesting content, and more. There are fun online games and contests that work through Facebook, too. Its’ a great place for seniors to maximize their online activity with relative simplicity.
While it might have been true years ago that older folks weren’t tech savvy, today’s retirees were only in their 40s at the advent of the internet. They may not have adopted a tech-heavy lifestyle as fast as younger generations, but many still gained computer and web skills on the job or simply as the internet grew more widespread in everyday life. Now many seniors are taking the time to learn or improve web skills as the internet makes it easier than ever to refill prescriptions, manage money, get in touch with friends, and share memories.
Often the first place many businesses update their contact info, hours, and other crucial information is on their websites or social media pages. Fewer and fewer phone books are distributed, and these days paper media is often out of date shortly after it is published. Even many newspapers and magazines are moving online. One of the best gifts you could give a senior loved one this year is the gift of helping them get online or manage their web life more easily so they can stay up to date and in control of day to day affairs with online tools.
Whether your loved one lives alone or in a supportive retirement community, their independence will be increased simply by being able to use online tools to get in touch with friends and family all over the world and having all the information they need at their fingertips about senior living facilities, area events, vacation plans, medications, investments, and more.