According to Pew Research Center’s “Internet and American Life Project”, 53% of online users are 65 and older. If that wasn’t impressive enough, seven out of ten seniors now own cell phones, or shall we say ‘mobile devices’ (including tablets, phablets, and laptops) – which is a huge leap from just a decade ago. Connecting through social media networks is a great outlet for older adults to rekindle old friendships, express their creativity, and share memories.
Getting photos of the grandkids via “snail mail” has become a thing of the past. The use of applications such as Facebook and Instagram are allowing folks to connect with their families who may live a long distance away or don’t pick up the phone as much as they’d like to. Computer savvy seniors are enjoying receiving pictures and updates of the precious moments they otherwise would have missed.
Retirees who may be housebound or don’t get out to socialize as often can feel included and part of a community through online correspondence. Social media opens up opportunities to find college alumni, explore one’s ancestry, and pursue hobbies or special interests. There’s something gratifying about posting a photo, or a thought, and receiving feedback from others. A snapshot of a weekend in Cabo isn’t just for twenty-somethings anymore!
A study done by UCLA found that older adults who use the internet regularly experience improved decision making and reasoning. The act of navigating cyberspace keeps the brain developing and changing, contrary to the belief that learning new skills isn’t possible beyond a certain age.
Channeling social media is helpful for depression and can help seniors boost their self-esteem. And who knew that technology could be so beneficial?