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Oct 10

Social Media and Seniors

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I have decided to use Sunday’s Podcasts for Monday’s blog posts and on October 2nd, the topic was Social Media and Seniors with special guest Demia Avery a new author, you can hear the interview by clicking this link.

special-guestdemia-avery

On the Podcast I talked about how seniors can use the internet and social media to turn a passion or a lifelong dream into a reality, perhaps even a profitable one.   Whether it’s vlogging, blogging or conducting online workshops and even podcasts, seniors can share their knowledge and expertise with others as a way to supplement their income, to share words of encouragement or wisdom, keep in touch or to relieve isolation and loneliness.

  seniors and an ipad

I started my blog DeDivahDeals in 2012, and what started out as a way to fill a void after the death of my grandmother, turned into something much more. As a matter of fact, my blog was recently nominated as one of the Top Five BEST BLOGS in Delaware and I won’t know until Friday whether or not it was chosen, but if it is I will tweet it out!

Way before starting the blog, DeDivahDeals, I would post my outfits of the day or #ootd as well as deals found in and around the state of Delaware onto Facebook.  However, after a few months, I noticed that my family and friends which at the time was a small circle, wasn’t really feeling it nor was I feeling the love so I decided to head over to YouTube and check it out.

YouTube opened up a whole new world, because there were so many vloggers who also had blogs and they were sharing their daily deals and outfits.  When I saw the Goodwill thriftinistas, I was in paradise! 

After all, growing up in the projects in New Rochelle, NY my grandmother had us at the Salvation Army or Goodwill all the time!  I used to love those big bins full of clothing and I think that is where I got hooked on thrifting and have never been ashamed of doing so even before it become popular to do so. 

Goodwill logo

It was then that I decided to start and blog and have since connected with so many wonderful woman that that void was eventually filled – although I still miss my Nana everyday.  She was 98 years old when she transitioned in 2009, but she stayed active and involved until she the age of 97.  She read constantly, wrote excessively, went to the senior centers, church, shopping and loved talking on the phone.

Mama Midget going to church

She didn’t stop traveling via Amtrak to North Carolina until the age of 95 and when she did it was alone.  She definitely didn’t let any grass grow under her feet and I hope to stay just as active with the help of my family, friends and social media.

My grandmother like so many other seniors have a lifetime of experience which can be shared with the younger generations to make them stronger and more knowledgeable which can only help our future generations.  Believe it or not seniors have and use Ipads/tablets, computers and some even use iPhones to surf the internet, and to connect with family and friends so creating instructional videos is not a long stretch of the anybody’s imagination.

senior are online

You Tube is where people search when looking for tutorials or how to videos, so seniors can create videos of their hobbies, whether it’s crocheting, bridge playing, cooking, gardening, education and training…the sky’s the limit because there is a target audience for everything – trust me.  As a blogger, I have seen some niche blogs that would blow your mind.

Seniors may not be as social media savvy as their kids and grands but they can be assisted by them.  If they prefer to tread lightly at first, create a family Facebook group which is private and open to only the immediate family.  Invite the grandparents so they can keep up with the happenings in the family. 

They can log on anytime of the day or night to share a post whether it’s a family recipe, a poem, or a simple thought or birthday wish and they can also read what other family members have posted. 

Do you have an Uncle Joe that loves telling jokes at the family reunion, well the family Facebook group would give him a platform in which to tell those jokes.  Perhaps Aunt Patty makes a mean Peach Pie, she can post the recipe and even a picture of the finished product and remember everything on the internet ends up in the Cloud. 

There won’t be a need to keep those handwritten recipes that get lost or faded through the years, you can leave your Legacy in the Cloud which is the title of one of my posts that I wrote for my other blog, Blogging with Blake.

There will come a time when your parents and grandparents can no longer travel safely as was the case with my grandmother in her 95th year, which brings me to another great thing about Social Media and Seniors, it can eliminate isolation and loneliness by keeping them in the loop.

According to statistics loneliness and social isolation have been linked to poor health outcomes.  Social Isolation among older adults or seniors who live at home rather than living in senior communities, may be as high as 43%.

Encouraging seniors to remain active in their hobbies and interests, and providing them opportunities to volunteer can help them maintain their sense of purpose and keep them from becoming isolated and lonely. 

So we can help our loved ones become more social media savvy, because you know that millennials, Gen X and Y as well as Teens and Tweens don’t need to leave the house to catch up with friends, follow current events, and find out what’s going on in the world.

seniors are online

E-mail and websites are one way to do this, but using a social media site like Facebook makes it even easier for an older adult to feel connected, simply by being able to see what others are posting.

Facebook also offers plenty of opportunities to participate in “watercooler” discussions of current goings-on and share recommendations for books, movies, and music.

Ask yourself: Don’t you feel more motivated to get out and see a movie or visit a restaurant if your friends are talking about it? The same is true for your parent or loved one.Smile

In prepping for this evening’s podcast I found a great post over at  www.seniornet.org/blog which listed 11 benefits of social media for senior citizens that I want to share:

1. Keep in touch

Social media is a remarkable tool for keeping in touch, especially for seniors who keep in touch with kids, grandkids, and sometimes even great grandkids, but it’s more than just family. Seniors are finding their college roommates, best friends from “the block” and elementary school crushes. The social networks enable us to view videos, read blog posts, share pictures and have conversations with people who we thought we’d never see again. Grandparents are friends with college-aged grandkids and keeping up with their accomplishments. To say social media has revolutionized the way families connect is an understatement.

2. Research

Seniors use social media tools to learn more about topics that interest them. In some cases it can lead them to cultivate hobbies and business ideas, and in other cases, such as with all the inaccurate health information available, it can be a confusing mix of resources. However, the Internet is enabling the over 50 crowd to learn more about new products, work on their genecology, and learn something new.

3. Ask questions

I don’t know about you, but I get frustrated navigating the phone menu to nowhere, so do so many others. By using the online tools available, many senior citizens can reach out via Twitter, Facebook, videos, blogs and live chats. Being able to talk to representatives and have all their questions answered, without being intimidated by voices, attitudes and a phone menu that doesn’t seem to lead anywhere, gives folks more confidence in a product.

 

4. Entertainment

Senior citizens can watch old television shows and movies, as well as find videos from “back in the day.” They can read ebooks, articles and blog posts, find song lyrics and find out what their favorite entertainers are up to. They can play games, either by themselves or with family and friends. Shut ins or those who can’t get out and around as well as they used to no longer have to feel lonely when they’re home alone.

5. Start a new business

Being online allows folks of all ages to start a new business. Perhaps they can sell crafts or give coaching advice. Or maybe they want to get into freelance writing or some sort of consulting. Many senior citizens would love to work but companies don’t want to hire them as they feel they’re “too old.” With social media and so many online productivity and networking tools, senior citizens no longer have to be forced into retirement.

6. Grow an existing business

Seniors who are still in business need to keep up with new programs and technologies. Social media enables them to stay in the game and compete with younger businesses. Use social media tools to connect and share. Answer questions, promote events and sales and more.

7. Learn

Just because one is retired or out of school doesn’t necessarily mean one wants to stop learning. Seniors are now taking courses online and reading online books, posts, articles and more to keep their minds active. Because seniors are now better able to keep up with emerging technologies, they don’t have to be considered “old and out of touch” and can hold their own in a conversation.

8. Share

Senior citizens aren’t merely people who are older than us. They’re also people who have been in the trenches. They have amazing stories and brilliant ideas. Through social media they can share all that good stuff with others. Seniors can blog about how life was when they were growing up or how things have changed during their lifetime. They network online and offer advices and mentoring to younger people and students and they can start Facebook pages to talk to others their age.

9. Meet others

The social networks allow us to meet others, for both business and pleasure. (No, not that kind of pleasure, I’m not talking Craigslist.) From online meetings seniors can plan offline meetups and networking events with like minded people and people their age.

10. Find work

65 is no longer the age of retirement for active seniors. Many would like to continue working, if not full time with an established business, they can also consult and freelance. Various networks enable them to find opportunities, post online resumes and view and apply for job listings.

11. Take advantage of sales and online opportunities

By following their favorite businesses and brands, seniors can save money by taking advantage of promotional opportunities. Many times freebies and discounts are only available via a Facebook page or for Twitter followers.

So like many of my fans, followers and even attendees of my blogging workshops who have either started a blog or are writing and teaching memoir writing classes these are other great benefits to consider when restarting or jump starting your next phase in life. 

Have you seen the commercial for Ford that comes equipped with WiFi and the grandmother in the passenger seat says to her grandson, “do you mean I can update my blog from here” and he looks at her in amazement and responds, “grandma you have a blog!”

And not only are some senior centers starting their memberships at the age of 50, there are very active seniors out there becoming Encore Entrepreneurs as I am one myself – at the age of 55, I am the owner of A.Blake Enterprises, Social Media Management and Consulting.   Head over to www.ablakeenterprises.com for more information. 

Do you have any tips for seniors and social media?

I love reading your comments!

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