Likes! Shares! Selfies! Is Social Media Really a Good Thing for Seniors?

June 22, 2022

Swiping, liking, and sharing -- that's what the younger generations do almost daily on social media. Are you already on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter? Is this world still foreign to you?

The idea that seniors can't do anything with social media is outdated and, frankly, offensive. The number of older people who use social networks daily is rising steadily. "Can you show me how to get on the Internet?" This is a question many of us have probably asked our children or grandchildren. That's not surprising; after all, you didn't grow up with the Internet and so maybe you have some catching up to do!

Family And Friends Are Important – We Need To Stay Connected

One of the many tips for maintaining good mental health is to stay social and connected. You can remain social in real-time or online, too!

Social media connects seniors with family and friends and offers a connection with past schoolmates. It offers a platform where people can assist others and a sounding board for sadder life issues such as divorce and the passing away of friends.

While there really is no substitute for in-person contact, we can fend off our loneliness by visiting online communities. Social media apps may be the most obvious choice.

“Good health includes complete physical, mental, and social well-being. New studies have found that seniors using social media acquire many positive instances related to their personal and social life as they are more engaged in constructive activities and focus on self-education and love.” Newport Home Care

So Why Do the Elderly Not Use Social Media?

While older adults increasingly use social media, their numbers still lag those of younger age groups. It's a generational imbalance that still hasn't been eliminated. The proportion of offline users is simply highest among older people. 

  • many older people see no benefit or no need to tap into the Internet
  • many feel it is too complicated for them or they are simply "too old" for the Internet
  • sometimes there is simply a lack of the necessary technical support
  • little experience with new technologies in the course of their lives.

If you aren’t using the internet, now is the time to start! There are countless online learning opportunities for seniors too. If you can’t connect to the internet yet, there is probably a neighbor, child, or grandchild who would be happy to help. 

“According to the Pew Research Center, 73 percent of people over 65 in the U.S. use the internet, up from 14 percent in 2000. The older the person, the less likely she is to embrace the internet, social media, or smartphones, but those who have adopted these technologies use them a lot and learn new skills to do so.”

Why Should the Elderly Use Social Media?

Why do seniors use social media platforms on the Internet? Many older people have realized that the Internet offers the opportunity to make contacts anytime, anywhere. 

Communication on the net is often more casual than when people meet in person, therefore easier. And we don’t have to leave our homes to meet people around the globe -- or catch up with old friends. It helps to break the loneliness that can come with isolation – emotionally or physically.

“Social media seems to have a positive effect on seniors’ well-being. Internet use has been shown to reduce seniors’ risk of depression by as much as 33%. One study found that seniors who use Facebook show marked improvements in cognitive function. Another study found similar results when seniors were trained to use email, Skype, and Facebook.”

Can I Become Addicted to Social Media?

Social media offers an important communication tool for people who cannot always connect in real-time. Can we become addicted?

  • Are you checking social media first thing in the morning?
  • Do you check it all through the day?
  • Do you feel anxious if you haven’t checked social media?
  • Do you worry about how many likes your posts accrue?
  • Are you neglecting your friends, hobbies, and personal care, in favor of social media?
  • Do you forget to take your medication because you are online?

Social media addiction may traditionally plague younger people. However, anyone can become addicted to a favorite hobby or substance if it makes them happy and makes them feel less lonely. Social Media is completely safe if you use it responsibly.

Are other parts of your life suffering due to overtime on social media? It’s probably time to think about putting down your phone and opening the window. Decide upon a certain time in the day to go online. Try visiting your friends in town or in the games room too. Our good friends don’t replace our biological families but they’re sure nice to have. Who says you can’t have more than one family anyway?

“As of 2019, per Pew data, 72 percent of all adults in America used some sort of social media, including 69 percent of those age 50 to 64, and 40 percent of people age 65 and older.” Pew Research

Which Social Media is Best for Senior Citizens?

As we grow older, we move about, we study in different schools, work in different jobs, and travel to different destinations. We meet friends, lose them, fall in love, fall out of love. Thanks to social media, even if we’re a thousand miles away from our best friend or favorite sibling, we can still reach out and touch them. It’s not important how we connect; it’s important that we do.

Social media platforms facilitate bringing people together and are perfect for creating a shared history. In addition to Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, seniors can check out the NextDoor app. This is a community-based app that allows locals to post about what’s happening in their community. 

  • Facebook is the world’s largest social media platform, with almost 3 billion subscribers! 
  • Skype allows you to see your grandchildren’s faces while you chat with them.
  • Blogger is a fantastic way to write your memoirs and meet people from around the globe.
  • YouTube is the second-most used social media platform in the world – a great place to watch videos and learn a new skill!
  • Pinterest offers millions of images that you can post, sort, and share.

One of the best apps for seniors is AARP. It’s a trustworthy source for senior-focused news, recipes, reviews, and membership information. Exactly what you would hope for in a social media platform.

AARP recommends seniors go online, and a European study found that social media use among the aging community improves health in terms of cognitive capacity, increases a sense of self-competence, and may have a beneficial effect on mental and physical well-being.” 

Walden University

Are You Using Social Media?

If you’re an avid social media user, why not exchange tips and tricks with your friends? Want to read more articles like this? We invite you to subscribe to our newsletter where we send weekly emails with helpful and fun articles

Senior Living FYI

Go Live Your Best Life!

Back to Magazine
Healthy Access Banner