Often thought of as a tool only used by younger generations, social media has recently become increasingly popular amongst older adults. According to Pew Research Center, 61% of adults ages 65 and older now own a smartphone, and 45% of those older adults with a smartphone have reported that they also use social media.
What exactly is social media? Social media consists of collaborative websites and applications that allow users to share content with others such as text, photos, and videos. Social media has many benefits for older adults such as providing engaging socialization and new learning opportunities.
Obstacles such as busy schedules, geographically distant loved ones, or health concerns can make it difficult for older adults to stay in touch with their family members as much as they might like. Social media sites such as Facebook or Instagram provide the perfect platform for older adults to connect with their loved ones and even long lost friends. Users of these sites can share video and photo updates of their travels, life milestones, and even just their everyday lives. Old videos and photos can also be shared with loved ones to connect and reminisce about fond memories. The more connected older adults feel with their friends and loved ones, the more improved their mental health will be.
Social media can also help relieve the stress and anxiety felt when loved ones don’t live close by to each other. Instant messaging and video calls provided by various social media sites allow older adults and their families to check in with each other as often as they wish, especially when a major life change or illness has occurred.
You’re never too old to learn new things! Social media strongly promotes active learning, meaning that the user is in direct control of what they choose to learn more about. And the more interested in a subject you are, the more information you are likely to retain. Social media sites such as YouTube, LinkedIn, or Pinterest provide users with ample opportunities to learn regardless of their learning style.
YouTube is a video based social media site perfect for users that learn the best visually. Users can find a wide variety of videos anywhere from live demonstrations on how to make a tasty new dish, change a tire, or even try out a new yoga routine.
Pinterest is a popular social media platform for those who love to create. Users can discover and share their favorite recipes, craft and sewing instructions, or home decorating ideas. With content geared towards both visual and reading learning styles, Pinterest has a little something for everyone.
Blogs are regularly updated webpages that provide valuable insight on various topics. Blogs will typically focus in on a certain genre of knowledge such as lifestyle, travel, or health topics. Perfect for those who enjoy learning by reading, blogs are one of the best ways to learn new things from those who have extensive experience on the subject matter. Senior living communities such as The Knolls of Oxford will often have blogs dedicated to topics geared towards the health and wellness of older adults.
Social Media at the Knolls of Oxford
On top of providing numerous opportunities to connect with others and learn new things, social media can also be a very valuable tool when it comes to searching for a new senior living community to reside in. While tours of the campus will show you what the surface of the community looks like, many older adults are more interested in the real, daily life of the residents who call that community home.
The Knolls of Oxford has carefully curated a social media presence that engages current residents as well as the public. Snapshots from daily resident activities and outings, resident spotlights, and video messages from residents and staff are just a few examples of what you will find on The Knoll’s social media.
If the idea of using social media still seems daunting to you, perhaps taking a class on using your smart device for social media or staying safe on the internet might help alleviate any remaining anxiety.
The Knolls of Oxford is a very technologically positive community, and recognizes how important hands-on training is when learning new technology. Our Communications Department offers regular technology training classes that build on previously learned skills. For example, in one class you may learn how to create a social media profile and in the next class you will learn how to safely use the social media platform. These classes are limited to small groups of residents to allow everyone ample time to learn at their own pace and ask questions.
“Our residents are very open and excited when it comes to technology and social media” says Bailey Wallingford, Corporate Communications Manager for Maple Knoll Communities. “Many of our residents are already active on social media and love sharing our posted photos and videos with their loved ones. Having our residents be so engaged with our social media profiles has created a community that is excited to retire and live life to the fullest.”