How to Get Seniors
Active on Social Media
When grown children move away, friends become fewer and mobility becomes a challenge, seniors may start to feel isolated and lonely.
Here’s good news. Connecting with family, old and new friends, and hobby interest groups is a mouse click away. Knowing how to get seniors active on social media is the first step to opening a whole new world of possibilities.
It’s a solution worth pursuing. There is growing evidence that seniors who use social media are more likely to maintain and expand their social network and live fuller, happier lives. In fact, AARP enthusiastically recommends that seniors go online. And a European study has found that social media use among seniors improves their health in terms of cognitive capacity. It also increases their sense of self-competence and may have a beneficial effect on mental and physical well-being.
Participating in social media is natural for seniors who are currently online or those who want to be. According to the Pew Research Center, 75% of people 65 and older were using the internet in 2021. That’s a big jump from 2010 when only 43% were online. The percentage of seniors that own a smartphone has climbed from 53% to 61% in the past two years; no surprise given the isolating impact of the pandemic, driving many toward technology in a rather desperate need for human connection. The Research Center found that 12% said they were more dependent on their devices than adults aged 30 to 64.
If you want to know how to get seniors active on social media, start by browsing options for the most emotionally fulfilling and mentally stimulating interactions. Here are a few of the most popular:
Facebook -- With over 1 billion users worldwide, Facebook is by far the most known of all social media platforms. It lets users who sign-up for a free profile account connect with friends and family. It also lets them send friend requests to people they know or want to become friends with online.
Facebook allows seniors to share photos, videos, music, and articles, as well as their own thoughts and opinions with however many people they like.
Other appealing features include being able to have private conversations on Messenger, buying or selling items on the Facebook MarketPlace, joining special interest groups, finding out about interesting online and in-person events, as well as being reminded about upcoming birthdays of their Facebook friends.
Twitter -- This free online news and social networking site is a place where people post short 280-character messages called tweets. Tweeting is posting a message for anyone who follows a user on Twitter, with the hope that they’ll find what you have to say fun, informative, interesting, or provocative.
Twitter is a great way to keep up with what newsmakers or celebrities are talking about, what favorite companies and organizations are doing, or even turn yourself into a superstar thought leader that others will want to follow.
Instagram -- Available on both iPhone and Android, this free photo and video sharing app lets people upload photos or videos on the site and share them with their followers or a select group of friends. It also allows users to view, comment, and like photos and videos that have been shared by their friends on Instagram. Creating a free account is easy. Simply register an email address and select a username.
Pinterest – Self-described as a “visual discovery engine,” this free site is an easy way to find interesting ideas for recipes, home and style inspiration, hobbies, and more.
Users create specifically named “boards” where they “pin” links to things they find appealing. Whether it’s a board featuring Bucket List travel destinations, favorite restaurants, great books, or quirky collectibles, users can save them to boards and keep their ideas and discoveries organized and easy to find. Seniors can also browse other boards and create Pins to share with other people on Pinterest.
It's also a terrific place to create or access family and friends’ boards that feature their “objects of desire”. It's easy and convenient to share ideas for birthday and holiday gifts that will really be appreciated.
Senior Planet Community – Created by Older Adults Technology Services (OATS) — a nonprofit affiliated with and partly funded by AARP — this is a relatively new platform that offers in-person and online classes for older Americans. It bills itself as a place to “Make friends. Talk openly. Age with attitude.” All good things that can make life more rewarding.
When you think about the benefits of social media for seniors, it’s easy to see the many emotional and cognitive health benefits of staying engaged with life and maintaining relationships with other people. So, with appropriate cautions and safeguards, seniors should dive into social media and learn to swim—or at least paddle.
MorningStar Senior Living — Independent Living Community
Love the sound of built-in companionship, predictable budgeting and the security that comes from living in an independent living community? Our job is to take care of the day-to-day details of home maintenance inside and out, giving you more time to do the things you love. Whether fulfilling a calling, finding a new opportunity through volunteerism or playing and relaxing, contact us to schedule a tour of a community near you.