COVID-19 has caused many of us to constantly estimate the physical distance between ourselves and a nearby person. It has also caused senior adults, the most vulnerable among us, to distance themselves even further and shelter in their homes, cut off from family and friends.
Seniors are often susceptible to depression from isolation at any time. During this pandemic, the vulnerability of seniors to the effects of isolation are multiplied.
Exploring the opportunities for interaction via social media can bring people together online and help fill the void of loneliness in the lives of seniors. And there are plenty of other seniors out there to connect with. They are trending as the fastest-growing demographic on social media.
1. Making Connections via Social Media
Some of the more popular ways seniors connect:
Facebook. This platform combines lots of followers with easy-to-use methods to connect to people and discover information. Facebook is highly customizable, allowing users to choose what they want to share and who they want to share it with.
Skype. Skype’s video chat capabilities allow users to both see and hear each other—a good idea for friends and relatives who want to see how their senior is doing and converse with them as well.
Instagram. This is a free photo and video sharing app. People can share photos and videos with followers or a select group of friends. Users can comment on and like posts from others.
Pinterest. This site provides a wealth of opportunities for seniors, especially those who enjoy creative projects. It allows users to share links and pictures by “pinning” them to boards, or personal pages. By collecting these “pins,” users can have a collection of different artistic ideas pertaining to their favorite projects.
Twitter. Twitter enables its users to send messages (tweets) of 140 characters or less to followers. Tweets can include links to websites and resources. Other options include retweeting messages from others, and following people and organizations that are of interest to the user.
2. Staying Informed Online
Seniors can stay involved and informed about the world around them on the following sites:
AARP. This organization addresses the needs and interests of middle-aged and older people. The AARP also provides links to discussion groups on a number of topics.
Twitter. Twitter News provides news and comments from thought leaders, journalists and organizations.
Facebook Groups and Instagram hashtags. Users can link to hobby groups and people from around the world who are interested in the same topics or activities.
3. Entertainment at Your Fingertips
YouTube. This is a video sharing platform that allows users to upload, view, rate, share, add to playlists, and comment on videos. TV shows and movie clips, music videos, movie trailers, live streams (a live transmission of an event), and other content is available.
Tubi TV. This is a free streaming service that offers content like TV series and movies. It has a robust variety of viewing options. Tubi does insert advertisements and commercials into its content. And it has an app that is available on both Android and iOS devices. It also is available on several streaming devices.
Fun and games. The Thrillist website enables users to download game apps for iPhones at the App Store and Android phones on Google Play. This article also lists explanations for several games, including Scrabble Go, UNO, and Yahtzee.
Words with Friends. This game is available via an app for both Android and iPhone. Compete against others in this crossword puzzle game that is similar to Scrabble. It’s easy to learn.
Card games. CarzMania offers more than 25 multi-player card games for free. Games include:
- Texas Holdem
- Gin Rummy
- Crazy Eights
Even the game Solitaire can be played in multi-player formats.
Jigsaw Puzzles.com. Jigsaw Puzzles has a huge collection of free online jigsaw puzzles that you can play with friends or jigsaw puzzle fans from around the world.
Chess. You can join a chess site that has nearly 37 million members, playing 5,000 matches a day. And if you’ve never played before, this site will teach you how. It is free.
Social Media Tips for Seniors
Here are a few social media tips from Senior Tech Club:
- Don’t accept friend requests from people you do not know
- Don’t share too much information (Example: vacation plans when you will be out of your home)
- Be aware of scams and frauds
- Don’t post pictures or information about friends or relatives without their permission.
Here is more information from Senior Tech Club for seniors about using social media.
Learn about the various technologies available to help you stay connected with your loved ones by visiting the Technology section of our blog.