Social media use has been on the rise among seniors for years. In the U.S., nearly 59% of adults over the age of 65 are online and 46% of those individuals are on at least one social network. Another statistic shows that at least half of online adults have a Facebook account. While nothing replaces quality time in-person together and face-to-face connections, studies show that social media use can benefit seniors’ physical and mental health in many ways. Here are five of those benefits:
1. Staying close with family
Social media platforms like Facebook and technology like Zoom, can be a helpful substitute for in-person contact and have been a great way for our residents to keep in touch and strengthen bonds with family members who are busy with work and school. We’ve often seen this apply to younger relatives who are more accustomed to social media and texting, rather than traditional communication methods like phone calls.
2. Making new friends, staying in touch with old
Facebook is also a way for seniors to make new friends and find people in their age group with similar interests. It provides ways to connect with long-lost friends from childhood and restart meaningful relationships. Since socialization has been proven to help reduce loneliness, isolation and depression symptoms, social media and the use of technology was instrumental to many of our residents when visitation restrictions were in place during the pandemic.
3. Sparking civic engagement
Engaging on social media is an effective way for seniors to feel more connected to the world and maintain a sense of purpose. Social media campaigns can catalyze political and social movements around issues, like prescription drug costs, racism or climate change. And using YouTube or Nextdoor can help seniors feel personally involved and provide a way to engage with issues that matter to them.
4. Providing educational resources
Platforms like Twitter allow users to follow different news outlets and keep up with current events, and some social media accounts are dedicated to keeping the public educated about scientific breakthroughs, cultural happenings and historic discoveries. Social media can also offer users access to subject matter and experts from all over the world.
5. Becoming self-advocates
The availability of information online on various diseases and disabilities has led to more seniors being able to make health care decisions independently. Opportunities to speak directly with medical experts and peers often provides the necessary resources and confidence for seniors to weigh in on a variety of matters such as their own healthcare, local politics and community happenings, and can also provide a forum to ask questions so they can better advocate for themselves.
Seniors also need to be aware about maintaining their privacy, avoiding scams and being careful with how and what they share. Check out online resources that offer guidelines for good social media practices.
Sopris Lodge at Carbondale is equipped with innovative technologies to keep residents connected, engaged and secure in their new home. These technologies allow team members to support resident safety while providing attentive, professional services and health care. We also prioritize helping families stay connected with their loved ones, whether across the country or just across town.
Visit our website (soprislodge.com) to learn more about how our programs and services keep residents engaged, safe and living life on their terms in a healthy communal setting where support is the norm.