Safety Tips: Senior Citizens

Seniors stay connected with friends and family through social media technology

According to a study published by Pew Research, more than half of adults over the age of 65 are now using the Internet. Of those "online seniors", 43% are using social networking sites such as Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Pinterest. Once online, 70% of these seniors use the Internet on a typical day.

Social media networks have wonderful benefits especially for the aging community. First, social media sites are a great entrance into technology because seniors can be instantly connected with friends and family without being overwhelmed by the sheer size of the Internet. Second, seniors can stay connected no matter where they reside; at home, in an independent living community or assisted living facility. Third, independent studies suggest that aging adults who were active on the Internet experienced a 30% decrease in depression, plus leaning new things keeps older adults young at heart and engaged.

In America, 4 out of 10 people age 65 and over live by themselves. Since many elderly adults are increasingly isolated and struggle with depression and loneliness, social media and Internet use can help seniors fill the void. Listed below are just a few of the benefits social media offers the older generation:

Keep in touch
The Internet is a remarkable tool for keeping in touch with family and friends no matter what the distance. It is an excellent opportunity to bring people closer together by sharing photos, videos, and chatting online. When face-to-face interaction is not possible, social media networks are a viable option to stay connected with the world and to be updated about important milestones.

Gives seniors a cognitive boost
Research has found that social media sites boost the cognitive abilities in older people. Adults who learned to use Facebook performed about 25% better on tasks that measured cognitive abilities. They were also better able to do "updating," a psychological term meaning that they could quickly add to or recall parts of their working memory as needed.

Meet new people
Facebook, as an example, offers groups and pages of all interests. Seniors have an opportunity to meet new people, join in an activity, volunteer, and swap stories.

Share stories
The elderly have amazing life stories and brilliant ideas. Seniors can share their stories by creating a blog or posting to their social networking pages. It's a great way to have their story heard and even mentor others who have been through similar experiences, creating a sense of purpose.

Learn
Social media sites are chockfull of interesting topics. It is an excellent source for research and creates opportunities for learning and activity.

Social media networks are a great way to interact with not only family and friends, but also the world. Most public libraries offer classes to introduce seniors to the Internet and resources such as the AARP offer social media training online. Below are the most popular social media sites:

Facebook
The granddaddy of social media sites, Facebook allows users to look up and connect with friends and relatives.

Twitter
This social media site provides a stream of short messages from people you would like to follow.

Pinterest
This social media site is similar to scrapbooking. Users share photos to things that interest them, which can then spark conversations.

LinkedIn
This social media site focuses on connecting professionals to one another, allowing them to network.

Google+
Google has leveraged the popularity of its search engine and e-mail services to create a social media network where users can keep track of each other’s interests.

Stay safe and have fun!
Initially, a senior might feel nervous around computers, but they tend to quickly overcome the reluctance and are now the fastest growing demographic on Facebook! Sievers Security wants everyone to stay safe online. Below are a few tips to ensure a safe online experience:

  • Like anything else, be aware of scams offered through social networking sites. Keep in mind, if it sounds too good to be true it probably is.
  • Routinely check and update your privacy settings so you are not sharing more information than you would like to.
  • Don't give out too much private information in a public profile.
  • Don't open emails or attachments from people you don't know.
  • Never give out financial information such as bank account numbers or social security numbers, and never wire anyone money.
  • When redirected to another login page, check the browser address or URL to make sure you are on the correct site before entering your username and password.
  • Don't pay for a free trial or give your credit card information for access to a trial. You could be charged monthly fees for something you never intended on purchasing.

Sources:
www.pewinternet.org
www.healthline.com
www.aarp.org
seniorcarecorner.com


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