Category Archives: Social Media and Seniors

Social Media & Caregiving

imagesWith social media a part of our everyday lives, it’s no surprise that it has created an impact on family members and the caregivers who are taking care of an elderly loved one. The ability to easily communicate with people from around the globe helps to keep everyone in touch and aware of their loved ones conditions, especially towards the end stages of life. Although this may seem to be a great thing, social media and the ability to stay connected can sometimes create animosity between families as well as stress due to the lack of privacy it has created.

Here are two things to keep in mind regarding social media and some tactics to help keep private family information off the Internet.

1. When a loved one passes away, there could be an immediate reaction online from family members and friends as they show their remorse for the loss. This sometimes creates issues, as many family members may prefer to not immediately share that information publicly. Remember when addressing this type of situation that you are not only speaking on your own behalf but on behalf of an entire family and the loved one that passed. In order to protect what is shared on your loved ones page, privacy settings may be used to control some of the unwanted overflow of emotion that may arise. Also, communicating to those around you the expectations and wishes of family member who passed can also help keep a check on how information is shared.

2. Remember to consider the reason you are sharing loved ones information before doing so. A psychologist from the London School of Business suggests that before sharing anything take these two factors into consideration. One, does sharing the information make you feel better or will it make others feel better for what you have said? Secondly, are you using the information to better yourself in some way? If either of those questions can be answered truthfully without feeling a sense of guilt, the information you may want to share should be okay.

Ultimately, finding the right balance between social media and privacy of a loved one can be a tricky dance. Remember to think before you share private family information as offending a family member during tough times can create animosity for months to come. As great as the Internet has become and the ability to connect and share information increases, privacy needs to be cherished and respected especially in times of grief and despair.

A Social Media Primer For Senior Citizens

Social media is an ideal tool for helping seniors stay in touch across the miles with friends, family and even high school or college friends with whom they haven’t spoken in decades. While spending time with people in person is preferred, social networking sites such as Facebook or Google+ and even Twitter provide a connection to the outside world and that is a way to prevent isolation which can lead to depression.Even if the senior in your life isn’t tech savvy there are computers on the market that make learning how to interact on social media simple to learn. Being involved in social media and on the computer also provides the chance for face-to-face interaction with friends and family across the miles.

For seniors that are unaccustomed to playing around online, hiring a local teenager or having a family member show them how and where to look up items, is a perfect primer. It won’t take too long for the senior in your life to become proficient on the computer and chances are there are classes at local colleges or the senior center geared specifically toward the beginner.

It’s natural for the senior in your life to feel a bit apprehensive when it comes to using social media but once they get accustomed to it and find the myriad ways in which they can stay connected to their family they will see its benefits. Imagine being able to take a photo of your child’s first step, or a graduation and sharing the picture with the grandparents as soon as it happens – social media makes that a possibility. Because senior citizens are one of the fastest growing demographics on Facebook and other social media sites, they’re designed to be user friendly.

Because social network sites are free to sign up for, the only cost incurred may be for a computer or a tablet for the senior in your life to use to access the Internet. Setting up a profile should be done with care and concern for the fact that if the senior lives alone, being vague on actual location and living arrangements may be a good idea; ie, if you live in a small town, set up the address as if you’re living in the next largest city, for example.

Spending time with your aging loved one, up front to help them connect with friends and family online will be time well spent when you know that they’re no longer living in isolation. Additionally, knowing that you can talk with your relative online helps relieve stress and concern on whether they are taking care of themselves. Consider having the family pitch in to provide your aging relative with a computer as a gift that will be certain to create memories and provide them contact with the outside world!

Social Media Outposts

Social Media Outposts (Photo credit: the tartanpodcast)

Social Media Can Keep Seniors In Touch With Friends And Family

Demographics show that senior citizens are the fasted growing segment on Facebook. This makes sense because social media sites like Facebook allow seniors to keep in touch with friends and family across the miles. Engagement in social media also provides an opportunity for interaction with their favorite brands or television shows. Web chatting sites such as Skype or Google Hangouts also provide face-to-face interaction as a way to truly stay connected to friends and family.

Here are seven benefits that can be reaped by the tech and social media savvy senior:

  1. Keeping in touch. Consider looking up  college or high school classmates as well as friends and family. Read  blogs, share pictures and have conversations with people you may have lost  touch with.
  2. Use social media for  research purposes. While you don’t want to rely on everything you read on the internet, using it as a starting point for research on hobbies, business interests or health information is a great way to get involved and stay informed.
  3. Sometimes there is just nothing on television worth watching and using the Internet is a way to watch videos or even television shows from the past that you’ve enjoyed.  Reading ebooks, articles and listening to music are also easily accessible items if there’s Internet access available.
  4. If you’re crafty, using the Internet and social media is a platform for starting a new business or   growing an existing entrepreneurial enterprise. Consider offering coaching  services, selling crafts, writing blog posts for other sites as ways to harness the power of the Internet for business growth.
  5. Keeping your mind active as you age is a way to stave off dementia and loneliness which can lead to depression. There are myriad sites offering online classes, either credit or non credit courses in all knowledge areas.
  6. Share your information with the masses. Senior citizens have a wealth of information to offer and the Internet and social media and blog sites are a place to do just that. Tell stories, share your memories, answer questions, the ability to interact is at your fingertips.
  7. Money saving opportunities abound if you know where to look and are willing to spend the time. Look  online for sales and coupons being offered either at your favorite grocery stores or at craft or computer stores. Sign up for online newsletters from your favorite brands and you’re bound to receive coupons and special sales offers that others may not have access to.
Knight-Crane Convergence Lab

(Photo credit: Knight Foundation)

Just as safety matters with children on the Internet, so too should safety be a consideration for seniors when they’re interacting online. Don’t post status updates announcing that you’ll be going on vacation, keep your home address and telephone numbers off the sites and use common sense when interacting and accepting friend requests from individuals you don’t know.