Healthy Aging- Help a Senior connect with social media

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Social Media Benefits for Health

I’m not exactly thinking about health today. Today I’m thinking about how social media has changed the game (or at least the potential game) for us seniors. (As an aside, don’t you hate the word seniors? I’d rather be called an old fart than a senior.) The benefits from social media are still largely missed by old folks. These data are over a year old but they demonstrate that people 65+ have plenty of catchup to do to take advantage of the internet and social media. In 2009, only 38% of the over 65 population used the internet. I hope that number is higher today but the numbers are so low that each web literate person should take charge of helping some senior to learn to navigate the web for their own good.

The Internet is a social highway

The way delivery of information is evolving, people without web smarts will be severely handicapped just when they need information most. In addition, the social value of connections through the internet are priceless when mobility is impaired. Through Face book and, blogs, people can share experiences and make emotional connections with family and friends without leaving their home.

Connect yourself

I know that I am preaching to the choir because you are a member of the elite group of web savvy people if you are reading this. Still, maybe you haven’t yet joined Facebook and connected with friends and family. If that is true- then do it now. Make some connections with friends and family. Those connections will grow almost without effort. Then visit and say something from time to time. Getting started is the hardest part.

Then help others connect

The important message today is for everyone reading this post to reach our to people (particularly seniors who are not web savvy and help them get started. Expect resistance. Expect fear. But persist- gently but firmly and help them take the first step and learn the satisfaction that can come from plugging into the web community. They will thank you later.

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{ 7 comments… add one }
  • Bob Lowry January 25, 2011, 3:52 pm

    First Ralph, I had a new reader show up after following a link from your blog. Thanks!

    I am taking the Facebook plunge because it is hard to write a blog about retirement and avoid it. It is a fact of life for many folks. I was amazed when I saw a stat that the fastest growing segment using social media was by those over 74.

    Now, if I can keep my FB project from dominating my life, I’ll be in good shape.
    Bob Lowry’s last Blog Post ..Dont Die With Your Music Still In You

    • Ralph January 25, 2011, 4:12 pm

      Anybody reading my blog needs to know about yours so I hope everybody checks you out. You do need to get on Facebook. It doesn’t need to take much time and you will be surprised at what will turn up.

  • Bob@JuicyMaters January 26, 2011, 6:15 am

    Bob…beware FB! I started a FB and Twitter account JUST to promote my blog…it was supposed to be for nothing but FB’ing and tweeting new posts.

    Then a friend found out I was no FB and asked me to do Farmville because she neded more Farmville “friends” so she could expand her farm.

    That was a year ago and now I have a large, elaborate Farmville Farm…and 5 Farm Town farms as well.

    It’s addicting!

    • Ralph January 26, 2011, 8:02 am

      I guess you would know.

  • Mary January 27, 2011, 2:25 pm

    Ralph I completely agree with you! More people in the 65+ age range would benefit from tapping into all that the internet has to offer and it is up to all of us with computer skills to help out those who aren’t as knowledgeable. My mom finally joined Facebook after a lot of encouragement from me and she can’t believe how much more connected she feels to her friends and family. As a social worker I also find the internet is also a great way for people to find other kinds of support, such as where to turn to for help around the house, questions about health care and insurance, and support for when we start to slow down. Just be sure you’re going to reputable sites that are offering you quality information. Thanks Ralph!

    • Ralph January 27, 2011, 3:36 pm

      Thanks for seconding my suggestion. Everyone of us needs to help anybody getting older that isn’t web savvy to learn.

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