Social media can sometimes get a bad rap. But for seniors, it can actually be a lifesaver. Older people are increasingly using social media in a bid to connect better with the world around them, especially those who are living on their own. 

In fact, around 75% of those aged 75 years or older are using technology almost every single day and seniors who use social media spend on average about 12 hours per week on the online platforms. On top of this, 71% of seniors believe technology helps them to be more independent.  

However, while there is a definite uptake of social media by the older generation, it doesn’t change the fact that some seniors find it difficult to learn about the social media world. 

The challenges

Even the younger generation sometimes struggles with the speed in which things change in the technology and social media world. So it’s not surprising that one of the main challenges seniors face is purely staying on top of the constantly changing world of technology.

Another major problem is that technology is mostly designed for those who are quick-thinking, with good eyesight, hearing and a strong ability to read. This means, due to health conditions, there’s a significant amount of people who simply aren’t able to take part in the social media space. 

Finally, there’s an inherent fear of technology and social media, especially questions such as who may be watching and listening to what you’re doing. 

The advantages

While the social media world can be scary, the advantages far outweigh the challenges. There are several reasons why older Australians have a social media presence and by far, one of the largest benefits is the physical and mental health element. Here are some other advantages. 

It’s an easy way to connect with people

Today’s world is very spread out. Family members and friends are often living in another city, state or even country. While before, we would never dream of picking up the phone and calling them, due to the astronomical phone charges, now, it’s as easy as ever to keep in touch. In fact, 87% of seniors say social media helps them keep in touch with family and friends. 

Make new friends

Whether it’s connecting with old friends or finding a Facebook group with like-minded people who share your passion for sewing, getting on social media means sometimes meeting new friends to converse with. 

Social media is a wonderful way to help seniors who don’t necessarily have family or friends around, or who struggle to get out of the house due to health reasons, keep in touch with those around them. For seniors, 62% of people say social media reduces the feelings of isolation. 

Learn something new

One of the greatest things in life is to learn something new, and social media most definitely helps with this. Want to learn a new skill? It’s almost guaranteed there’s a Facebook page for it. There are social media accounts purely dedicated to educating people about almost every topic you can think of, from scientific breakthroughs through to history and current events. Simply scrolling through your Facebook feed, you’ll find that you’re passively learning new things with every click. 

On top of this, it’s also about staying informed. Of the older age group, 75% of people say the internet is useful to research goods and services before paying for them and 60% say they search for information about their health and wellbeing. 

Entertain yourself 

While many seniors are on social media, they’re also making use of email, far more than their younger counterparts. Seniors see this as a vital and convenient way to stay in touch, with many exchanging email messages on a daily basis. 

Social media and technology are also a big source of entertainment. Far more than just funny cat videos and memes, people are getting their news from their Facebook feeds and keeping up-to-date with current affairs through their inboxes. 

For seniors, it’s also a sense of nostalgia, with many clips of old shows resurfacing on social media platforms. There are also games to play, articles to read and jokes to share with friends. 

Age is no barrier

When it comes to technology, age should never be a barrier. Sure, it’s difficult to keep up with the ever-changing world of technology and social media, and there are some things that definitely aren’t pleased about the online world, but the benefits of being active on social media far outweigh the negatives. 
Age shouldn’t be a barrier to anything in life, social media engagement included. Seniors who have adopted technology and social media often never look back, recognizing the importance of the online world and embracing everything it has to offer. If you haven’t already, join in on the fun!