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Seniors and Social Media:
A Meaningful Partnership

Seniors and social media: Is it time to build a partnership? Some seniors are hesitant to adapt to new technology. Others, however, have already discovered its benefits and found new meaning to aging in place. Children and Grandkids living in different cities? No problem. Social media, chats and video calls alike, are available and can, therefore, bridge the gap of communication among families.

According to AGE-WELL, “Technology offers an unprecedented opportunity to enhance the quality of life of older adults and caregivers.” Through Facebook and other social media tools, it has become easier for seniors to talk to their friends and relatives, regardless of location. The same thing goes for the caregivers. They can communicate with their own families even if they are living in their patients’ homes. Subsequently, for both of them, social media helps decrease the feeling of being alone and lonely.

The American Sociological Association shared a video, where Barry Wellman (sociologist and Co-Director of Net Lab Network) and Annabel Quan-Haase (Associate Professor of Information and Media Studies and Sociology at the University of Western Ontario), conducted a research, with “adults aged 65 to 93 to understand their social networks and related use of technology in an increasingly global world”.

Seniors and social media? Yes, it is time for a partnership. Watch it:

Video Transcription:

Anabel Quan-Haase: The adults, those 65-plus, are not as we may have thought kind of digitally naive, lagging behind. Their social networks, in general, are shrinking and they often are dealing with health concerns or issues of mobility but they’re really eager to join the digital society because they see how potentially it can help them connect.

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Barry Wellman: It helps them stay in contact within their own generation or fellow other people who don’t have much mobility but also into generationally, especially with their children and their grandchildren.

Anabel Quan-Haase: Skype, Facebook can provide what we call a kind of micro communication so it can fill in gaps and communication in between and personal meetings.

Micro communications help, you know, reduce the loneliness and what otherwise may become a very long day.

Barry Wellman: It’s not like on the one hand is the Internet and on the other hand is real life. They are intertwined.

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Anabel Quan-Haase: In particular for the long-distance connectivity of family members, Skype and Facebook were seen as really useful because people saw these as really meaningful because they felt that otherwise the communication gaps just became really long. For these older adults to be able to see their children and what they’re doing in their day-to-day basis was really relevant, kind of almost allows them to participate from a distance.

How can we create better means for inter-generational communication that also includes the digital? In addition, to maybe, you know, the kind of standard family dinners… There’s a real opportunity here for more of these micro communications were, you know, parents and children and grandparents and their grandchildren can communicate in these newer ways.

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Say Hi to Social Media

Convinced now? If you haven’t met Facebook, Skype, and other social media tools, it is time to say hi. Benefit from the beautiful friendship tied with seniors and social media.

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