It’s hard to imagine staying in touch with friends and family nowadays without social media. However, your elderly parents lived their entire lives without it, relying on letters, phone calls and face-to-face visits. They could feel much more connected to their loved ones if they were online, but there are many obstacles they face.
With support from you, family members, and senior care providers, your elderly mom or dad can gain a lot of benefits from social media.
How Elderly Parents Benefit from Social Media
Sometimes, elderly adults are not aware of all the benefits of social media. Seniors often grow more isolated in their lives after retirement, far-away family members and even the death of friends or a spouse. Isolation can lead to loneliness and depression, which is a serious mental health issue. Social media can keep seniors interacting with loved ones near and far.
Social media can also benefit elderly loved ones by providing entertainment and education. Even if they have a family caregiver and senior care provider, aging adults often spend long periods of time on their own. Social media can be the gateway to spending time reading about things that interest them, from current events and sports to hobbies and health information. Elderly adults can even find out more about local news and community events that they want to attend via social media.
How to Help Aging Parents Love Social Media
First, show them your social media account and how you can keep up with friends and family. Let them ask questions, and even scroll through some of the things in your account to get an idea of how it works. Senior care providers and friends can also show the elderly person their social media accounts, showing funny videos or pictures of cute children or grandchildren. This gives an elderly person exposure without commitment.
Next, set up just one social media account that many family members are already tied into. For many, Facebook is the preferred choice, but it could be any other popular social media platform. You or the senior care provider can set up the account for them, including privacy settings and connecting with the accounts of other family members. The account should already be set up before the elderly person starts to use it, so they can just focus on using it, not with the details of setting up.
Finally, you or a senior care provider needs to teach them how to log in and operate within the social media platform. You can type out step-by-step instructions, so your aging parent can refer to it as needed. Stay close by for several sessions until they get the hang of it. In no time, your elderly parent will be enjoying funny cat videos, keeping up on the latest production from the community theater and commenting on photos of their loved ones.