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1225 NW Murray Rd, Ste 101, Portland, OR 97229
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Seniors and Social Media: There Are Signs of a Positive Impact With Older Adults

Comfort Keepers In-Home Care in Portland, Oregon.

It is a myth that claims that seniors or older people do not use social media, social media platforms, and other technology because of cognitive deficits or. The facts show that older people have been flocking to social media and social media sites at a brisk pace. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and even Google hangouts show increasing usage and adoption rates by older people. For the purposes of this article, older people or seniors are defined as age 65 or above.   

The Pew Research Center reported in August 2019 that 46% of older adults (ages 65 and above) are using Facebook's social media platform. That same Pew Research Center report showed that 38% of older adults are using YouTube's social media platform. The report goes on to cover the other social media outlets that older adult use. For example, 15% of older adults use Pinterest, and 11% of older people use Linkedin's social media site.


In 2018, older people age 65 and above numbered over 52 million seniors.

The Pew Research Center also published its social media fact sheet in June 2019, which shows that in America, 40% of older people use just one social media platform, and that is Facebook. 


Social Media Use Benefits Senior Mentally and Physically

Older adults report that experiencing positive social media usage can elevate their moods. An American Psychological Association (APA) study showed that there could be benefits of social media usage to senior citizens on social networking sites. The 65 and older age group participated in healthy activities that like cooking healthier meals, and they also found easier ways to maintain and clean their homes. Lower blood pressure and reduced instances of diabetes, along with the lessening of unhealthy habits such as smoking, were found. Depression could also be reduced. Gains in healthy activities and better overall health may be attributed to the self-education of older adults covering a wide variety of topics, including the latest technology trends available to senior citizens.


Social Media and Closer Family Interactions 

Facebook, which Pew showed as the largest social media platform used by older people, is expressly useful for keeping family members in touch with or connected to senior loved ones. Social media networking can make it easier for younger people to stay in touch and communicate more frequently with senior citizens that are living longer and staying in their homes. These social media conversations can help to bridge generation gaps by keeping family members in contact with older people.

Sharing current photos allows seniors to see their grandchildren change and grow, and creates a closeness and involvement that may not have existed, especially if the family isn't living close by. Video chats also are a great way to communicate in real-time. There is also the opportunity to relive fond memories or create new ones through postings of photos and home videos.


Family Peace of Mind

When a family lives apart, there can be stress and anxiety on both ends. Social media allows seniors and their families an easy way to check-in as often as they wish. This is especially important if the senior is living alone and may experience ill health, a fall, or may not be eating or sleeping well, taking medications, or getting any form of exercise. Family caregivers can use social media to ask critical questions that will let them know what's occurring in their loved one's life.


Community Engagement and a Sense of Belonging

Feeling connected is very important to any senior's wellbeing. Social media allows the senior to make plans with others to meet up outside of the home. It also allows seniors who are unable to leave home to socialize online to combat loneliness.


Shopping Online offers Convenience and Savings

Seniors that have physical limitations or have lost the ability to drive can use social media to learn about products or services available to them. Online reviews can help an older adult to shop confidently online. Seniors can take advantage of home delivery for groceries, products, and services. Seniors on fixed incomes can take advantage of the power of price comparisons, coupons, online sales, and other money-saving benefits. 


Senior Citizens Must Exercise Caution

While there are many benefits to older generations of social media and online activities; Caregivers can act as a roadblock to scammers phishing scams and other internet ills. Caregivers can uncover who your loved ones are speaking with and what they are speaking about. Caregivers can learn about scams or scammers that have been in contact with your loved one. The caregiver makes sure that your family member is only connecting with trustworthy people. They can also be an onsite set of eyes showing when older people may be overspending or having unnecessary items delivered that the loved one doesn't need or want.


Learning How to Use Social Media

The AARP organization has a community technology forum, which is a resource where older adults can learn not just about social media but about apps, blogs, and websites and technology that may be useful to them and their family members.


Comfort Keepers® Can Help

When Portland area seniors need help living at home, companionship, and socialization, they can count on the trusted caregivers at Portland Comfort Keepers, whose Senior Care team will help and care for your loved one. As part of our service offering, our caregivers can also provide everything from meal preparation to dependable transportation. Call your local Portland Comfort Keepers Office (503) 643-2010 to learn more about our services or schedule an assessment for your loved one.