The 65 and older set is the fastest growing demographic on social media, according to the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American Life Project. In 2013, more than 50 percent of people in that age group were on social media, compared to just 16 percent in 2000. Here are the top four reasons why seniors love Facebook.
1. It Helps Them Stay Engaged.
According to research, Americans are living longer, and many are aging in place. For those with mobility issues or a limited real-life social network, Facebook helps them stay engaged with others without leaving home. It can even offer an extra layer of protection for seniors who live alone and need help, since someone’s always listening on social media.
2. It Connects Them With Old Friends
Many seniors relish reconnecting with old friends and classmates with whom they lost touch years and years ago. Rekindling old friendships can be a boon to seniors’ social life, and it can be fun and rewarding to re-live old memories and catch up with long-lost friends and family members.
3. It Lets Them Keep Tabs on Family Members
Younger generations lead busy lives, and seniors may only see their kids and grandkids a few times a month. Facebook helps seniors stay connected to their kids’ and grandkids’ lives through their posts on social media. It also gives seniors the opportunity to post about their own lives and interests, increasing their feelings of relevance and belonging and reducing feelings of loneliness and isolation.
4. They Can Play Games
Facebook offers a range of fun games seniors can play online with their friends or family members. Playing games helps seniors exercise their brains, which can help stave off dementia. It also provides an engaging pastime that keeps them in touch with others.
Getting Your Senior on Facebook
Community colleges, community centers, senior agencies, retirement and assisted living communities, and other community organizations in your area may offer classes for seniors to help them get set up on Facebook and learn to navigate the site like a pro. If you can’t find a class for your aging loved one, engage the services of a Facebook-savvy family member to help get your loved one setup. Keep in mind that some seniors may struggle with technology, so be sure to take it slow and write things down if that helps. In no time, your loved one will be posting updates and pictures and reaping the many benefits of engaging with an online community.