Did you know that half of adults 65 years old and older are online or are regular users of the Internet? Seniors are a huge force online, and more learn to use the internet every day. One in three of such online seniors are identified as avid users of social networks such as Facebook and Twitter.
In countries such as ours, there are tens of millions of seniors over the age of 65. What’s more, the number of seniors that regularly use social networking sites continues to grow by leaps and bounds—from April 2009 to late 2011, the percentage of seniors using such sites grew from 33% to 150%.
But why? The answer may be complicated for some, but it is still more or less plain and simple: seniors need to connect with other people, and social networking sites are giving them a chance to stay “in society” and a new sense of purpose.
Social networking interaction’s benefit to seniors
According to a recent article that appeared in the Science Times, 33% of seniors 75 years old and older live alone or independently. This isn’t because seniors are less in need of socialization, but because getting out of the house and meeting friends becomes more difficult as we age. Places like Facebook and MySpace allow seniors to find like-minded people, friends, and acquaintances without having to leave their home.
With the advent of social networking sites, seniors suddenly find themselves in a new play ground where their physical limitations basically don’t matter—just as long as you have internet connection, can type and use a pointing device, you’re in. And the task of getting online has even become much easier with touch-screen tablet devices that are intuitive and easy to use.
The “one-click and you’re there” magic
Online conversations can be incredibly easy to arrange—a webcam “meeting” can be setup in a few minutes, or one can sign onto Facebook at the same time as a friend to have an instant back and forth conversation through the messaging feature. In essence, the experience is like the daily chit-chat at the local cafe, except more people from all over the world can participate.
Social media is said to be the future of aging socially in our society. More and more seniors are discovering how to send an email, interact with others through chat or by blogging. You may be living alone, regularly assisted by a visiting caregiver and armed with your own medical alarm device, but you’re not really isolated.
As long as the hours spent online are balanced with real-world physical efforts such as engaging in stretching exercises and eating the right food, you’re in good company.
Have you met social media's oldest user?