The activity online for seniors has seen an enormous spike in engagement over the past few years. This was largely attributed to the pandemic of Covid19 that was introduced to Canada on January 30th, 2020. It was declared a pandemic in March of 2020 and that is when the isolation and withdrawal from human contact began for many of us.
This meant everyone became more dependent upon social media platforms in helping keep in contact with the outside world. For seniors, this used to be turning on the television to watch the news or tuning in to your favorite radio station.
Some may consider this keeping themselves informed of the current news and crime, however, in many cases it can contribute to fear and withdrawal caused by what is being reported.
The old cliche of how seniors engage with the current technology of smartphones and online platforms has become a myth, seniors are flocking to social media at a rapid pace. Seniors have adapted to social media like wildfire through popular channels like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, hangouts and many more.
How do Seniors Stay Connected?
What seems to be the most popular of social media channels would be Facebook, where seniors can stay connected with family. This allows for more conversations without the traditional preparation of making a whole day out of visiting and catching up. 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.
When families live 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 really 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.
Belonging To A Community
Keeping busy and staying connected is a major part of all our lives, this can be especially important for seniors and their well-being. More and more seniors are using social media to make plans, and be a part of chat groups, and online discussions. Socializing online can be a major part of combating loneliness or giving us a purpose.
Seniors Staggering Statistics & Facts
As of 2019, per Pew data, 72 percent of all adults in North America used some sort of social media, including 73 percent of those aged 50 to 64, and 50 percent of people aged 65 and older. The researchers found that the most popular social media channels for older Americans were:
● YouTube, used by 70 percent of those 50 to 64, and 38 percent of those 65 and older
● Facebook, used by 68 percent of those 50 to 64, and 46 percent of those 65 and older
● Pinterest, used by 27 percent of those 50 to 64, and 15 percent of those 65 and older
● Instagram, used by 24 percent of those 50 to 64, and 8 percent of those 65 and older
It’s a whole new world online for seniors even if they can’t venture out of the home due to inclement weather, illness or physical limitations. Home delivery with the push of a button becomes a convenience and possible necessity for others. Seniors are becoming extremely savvy when it comes to online coupons and money-saving QR codes, it seems to be becoming quite the pastime for money-saving opportunities.
Beware Before You Share
There have been reports that seniors are being scammed online through influential advertising and target social media. Caregivers should be more aware of the online activities that occur with seniors to be sure they steer away from online phishing scams and solicited emails that may lure them into the dark side.
Keeping our Canadian seniors safe should be a priority for all of us.
For more information on how to stay active, safe and live with independence, join Senior Protection with our Facebook so you can interact with real people in the senior online world.
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