Although use of social media is associated with young adults, recent research has shown that an increasing number of senior adults is starting to use social media sites like Facebook, Skype, Instagram and Twitter. This is so especially for the younger, affluent and more educated senior adults including independent living seniors in Houston. The older and less affluent however use digital technology less frequently. While they may face barriers to adopting new technological developments, once they are online they tend to incorporate online activities in their daily lives.
Social media is a place that allows all people from all walks of life and generations, to communicate and share their interests or ideas. There are a lot of benefits that seniors could gain from using social media. These benefits include:
One can use social media to keep in touch with family members and share experiences, interest or problems with them. Most of the time, elderly people are left alone in the villages and often feel isolated. Communicating with their children and grandchildren who are far from them more often is important. The good thing is that it is only a click away-thanks to social media. Some social media platforms such as Skype provide room for video chatting allowing them to see those who they communicate with which makes them to feel as if they are part of their lives. Constant communication with loved ones helps to reduce the feeling of loneliness and depression thus improving the quality of their lives.
Acquiring new hobbies is mentally stimulating and challenging. It is important for seniors as it helps improve their mental capabilities and overall health. Social media provides a platform where ideas on which hobbies are appropriate can be sought. Similarly, old hobbies can be developed by learning new things about them. They can get these ideas from social media. There are many blogs and pages that provide information on any subject they may wish to know. Some have even formed discussion forums where they share ideas and mutual experiences.
New business ideas
Though seniors may have retired from formal employment it is important for them to keep engaging in income generating activities to avoid totally depending on their loved ones for upkeep. They can do so by setting up businesses or improving the ones they already have. They can get ideas on viable business options from social media platforms such as Pinterest and Wanelo. A lot of people congregate in social media and exchange meaningful ideas. By reading through their discussions one can get to know their needs and think of business ideas that satisfy those needs. Observing the trending topics, visiting the most popular pages and spying on activities of big companies are some of the ways one can get business ideas from social media.
To find work
Senior adults may wish to remain relevant in the society even after retirement. They may seek employment as a way of self challenge or to bring income in addition to pension. Some of them may choose to get involved in areas that they feel comfortable in. These include teaching, coaching youth sports, being a school bus driver and offering consultation services. Social media provides sites where people post job opportunities. By visiting these sites, seniors can identify relevant jobs and apply for them. Being active on social media can also increase the chances of getting a job. Some recruiters use this to determine whether the candidates are technologically savvy or not.
Continue with their education and stay involved with local colleges and universities
Getting an additional degree or learning new disciplines is another way senior adults engage themselves in their old age. It is also a way of challenging themselves. Most universities and colleges have online platforms where learning takes place. These platforms have sites where students in different places share ideas. Seniors can take advantage of these and enrol. They can also get involved with local colleges by aiding in research and sharing their findings through social media.
Getting local and international news
Senior members of the society need to stay in touch with what is happening around them. This helps to keep them alert all the time. It also puts them in a position to engage in decision making processes in their community. Social media platforms like Twitter provide such opportunities. A quick search twitter shows you what topics are trending and redirects you to articles related to what you searched for.
When seniors get involved in social media, they help to bridge the intergenerational gap. The stereotype that only young people should use social media is hence proven wrong. Social media is just another way of enabling seniors to live independently. It is also entertaining and acts as a way of relieving stress thus improving their personal well being.