08 Nov 2016

Should Grandma be on Facebook?

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The younger generation might shy away from having their parents and grandparents meet them in the virtual world of Facebook, but in fact engaging in social media has many benefits for older adults.  As families mature often children and grandchildren no longer live near parents and grandparents.  Keeping in touch over the phone and through (gasp) writing letters is great but social media offers a certain instant excitement that can be very meaningful as well.

Facebook and similar sites can be confusing at first.  An unmonitored account can easily get cluttered with ads and other annoying distractions, but with a bit of instruction it can also become a living photo album or scrap book.  Grown children who post pictures of their own little ones or anecdotes, can bring much joy to their parents who get to experience these precious moments often from afar.

Social media is also a great tool for keeping in touch with old friends.  Sometimes despite fond memories, people’s lives take them in different directions and relationships can be hard to maintain.  As a person ages they might realize that they suddenly have more free time and would like to reconnect with people from their past.  The relaxed informality of social media facilitates virtual reunions.  Old friends can catch up on each other’s lives with ease as they slowly build new connections.  Friends lead to more friends, as people easily find mutual friends and in this way the internet can help people build greater social and support networks.

Despite all of the benefits of social media, one should of course be aware that there are potential pitfalls as well.  It is well advised to only associate online with people that you trust and preferably know offline as well.  Overall social media can open up new opportunities for seniors and bring much joy when used properly.  At Rockaway care center we encourage our residents to socialize and engage in our many programs.


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