You don’t have to be a teenager to enjoy Facebook! Seniors, even those over 100 (!), are learning how to use Facebook and other social networks to maintain relationships with family and friends. Seniors and Facebook don’t go together like peanut butter and jelly just yet but that is certainly starting to change. Many seniors are reaping the benefits of using Facebook.We’ve profiled Ivy Bean in the past and how she was the oldest user of Facebook and enjoying every minute of using it!
According to the Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, social networking among people 65 and older increased by 100 percent between April 2009 and May 2010. The center found that the internet is a way in which physically isolated seniors can connect with friends and family even if they are aging in place and physically isolated.
Stanford Professor Laura Carstensen, the director of Stanford University’s Center on Longevity, says that “social networking is providing more and more to be an entrance into technology for older adults.” As independence among seniors starts to decline, more are experiencing social isolation, loneliness and depression especially those living away from family and in assisted living homes. Several studies have found that internet use among older adults was associated with a 30% decrease in depressive symptoms among those who use the internet regularly.
While Facebook can help a senior stay socially connected it does not facilitate meaningful face-to-face interactions. It is not a substitute for face-to-face companionship for seniors. That’s why Engage As You Age is here to facilitate meaningful activity-focused companionship for seniors. We’ve found that companions for seniors make a difference that Facebook can’t compete with.
A few other things to consider about Facebook and seniors. Do the grandchildren of seniors want their grandparents to see their pictures and comments online? Perhaps Facebook would connect seniors to aspects of their grandchildren and children’s lives that they wouldn’t want to see. What do you think about Facebook and seniors? Is it the cure for loneliness and seniors?