Facebook: Keeping Seniors Connected

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I took a call from “Douglas” today, who was looking to arrange home care services for himself.  What caught me off-guard was that  he mentioned that he found our listing on Facebook.  Did I mention that “Douglas” was 88 years old?  At a time, when I (in my 40’s) have barely grown comfortable using both thumbs to text, more and more seniors are becoming tech savvy.  In fact, senior citizens are the fastest growing demographic on Facebook.

Surveys reflect that older Canadians are increasingly following their younger counterparts into the world of social media, with Facebook by far the most popular way to network, a new poll suggests. They are also jumping on board Facebook,TwitterYou Tube and more (can Google+ be far behind?) as they realize it is fun and provides real benefits.  I can think of several reasons for them doing so, for those living on their own or in facilities, but one reason predominates.

Social Media keeps families connected and closer together.  It’s not unfamiliar to hear a senior say, “I wish I heard more often from my children/grandchildren”. In a day and age where it is unlikely to find someone without a cell phone you’d think that calls to senior loved ones would be more common than ever.  However, a new generation of data plan users have replaced the need to use this technology to make phone calls and replaced it with the benefits of social media.

Accordingly, seniors are realizing that by using Facebook, it is easier to keep up with what is going on in the lives of loved ones.  It also makes for more frequent and comfortable conversations between generations than most would otherwise experience if the phones were used simply for calls.  Let’s not forget that the overwhelming majority of photographs are now digital and sharing of memories are now easier than ever through social media.   Grandparents can now go online and see pictures taken just moments before by their grandchildren, creating a feeling of closeness that was never possible with mailed photos. Most importantly, with most families living apart and with the worry of missed appointments or medications, potential falls, or other potential vulnerabilities of aging Facebook enables families to check in on their loved one as well.

If this isn’t enough, Facebook is also an opportunity for seniors to engage in recreational activity (games), discounts and giveaways and make new friends.   Our own site provides relevant community events, educational resources, and local news.   Let’s not forget, had it not been for Facebook I might not have had the opportunity to connect with “Douglas”.

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The office of Home Instead Senior care in Etobicoke services the following areas: Kingsway, Mimico, Longbranch, Islington, Richview, The Community of Humber Heights, Rexdale, Markland Woods, Baby Point.

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