Senior citizens are the fastest growing demographic of internet users. Their adoption of social media has mirrored this meteoric rise. Pew reports only 7 percent of adults aged 65+ used social media in 2010.
Since then, the number of seniors on sites like Facebook and Twitter has tripled to 34 percent. The growth in popularity among seniors isn’t the only remarkable aspect of this subject, so are its health benefits.
A recent study in the Journal of Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking found a strong correlation between seniors who used social media and “physical and psychological health.” The study’s subjects were also less likely to feel lonely.
One factor is social media’s ability to connect seniors with friends and family. Platforms like Facebook or Instagram allow you to share pictures and life updates.
Micro-blogging platforms like Twitter can keep seniors attached to communities that interest them. The struggle against isolation and loneliness can be a difficult one. In this regard, social media can be your most powerful tool.
Seniors are more likely to use the internet to stay informed. This is a marked change from other generations, who use it for social interaction.
In this case, the go-to news source before the internet was the paper. Now, you have a multitude of sources online that can be customized to your interests. Websites and social accounts that focus on health are especially popular. These venues allow aging internet users to ask their questions without leaving home.
Studies have found that social media drives seniors to be more active. After using social media, they were more likely to take part in leisure activities like cooking or cleaning. Seniors who used social media also perform better on cognitive and health tests.
As if cognitive, emotional and health benefits weren’t enough, social media give you several outlets to enrich your life. For the frugal out there, social websites like Twitter are endless fields of coupons and exclusive sales.
The entertainment factor is also central to the what the internet offers. Outlets like YouTube contain years of content to enjoy. You can watch everything from your favorite songs to instructional videos.
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As the 65+ crowd becomes more tech-savvy, we will see more benefits of social media use. It’s extremely encouraging that the trend is continuing to grow year over year. This growth in popularity has led to happier, healthier seniors. Who doesn’t love that?
The Shop & Enroll Blog — I’m Ready for Social Media: Which Platform is Right for Me?
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The Huffington Post — A Hot Trend: The Internet, Social Media & The Elderly