The 3 Health Benefits of Social Media for Seniors

When you think of social media, I doubt you picture grandma tapping away on her smartphone.You would be surprised by the benefits of social media for seniors.

Just three years ago the number of social media users over the age of 65 was thought to be under 10%. Now, that number seems to be on the rise according to recent studies.

The reasons for the recent rise in the popularity of social media with this generation is still up for debate. Some people speculate that it could be due to the unexpected health benefits older social media users are experiencing.

With this in mind, let’s look at three health benefits of social media for seniors.

Stress relief

As people age, relationships tend to become more distant and can often result in feelings of isolation and depression. It is a good idea to encourage the use of social media for seniors. The ability to be in close contact with family and friends has had a clear effect on senior’s stress level.

This is especially true when families are separated by long distances and a cross-country road trip or flight isn’t possible as often as they might like.

But even day to day interactions are made easier by social media.

Maybe your grandma hears about your new promotion on Facebook instead of finding out at Thanksgiving dinner months for now.

Maybe your grandpa is able to reconnect with a high school friend that he hasn’t spoken to in years.

Whatever it is, these interactions have a huge positive impact on how seniors feel about their relationships with friends and family.

Keeping an active mind

Social media keeps the mind engaged, which can, in turn, lead to better memory.

Social media platforms are ever-changing and fast paced. By being an active user, older people are challenging their minds to keep up with this pace.

And just like with physical exercise, the more you make your brain work, the stronger it is.

Research has found that social media for seniors likely plays a large role in mental health. This can result in less depression and more overall satisfaction with life.

Keeping an active body

Have you ever been scrolling through your Facebook feed and felt that little pang of jealousy? Maybe someone you know was doing something more fun than you.

That can actually be a huge motivating factor to get up and do something. Since staying active is one of the best ways to stay healthy as you age, this can have a huge impact on overall health.

During a study that was conducted in the UK and Italy, older members of the community were introduced to social media. The effects it had on them were monitored.

One woman reported finding a new love of life through social media. The 70-year-old claimed to have been invigorated. She lost a significant amount of weight and dyed her hair yellow.

Even if the changes aren’t so drastic as shedding unwanted pounds, just being motivated to go out to the flower garden in the front yard or take a walk through the park. Anything beyond your regular routine — can have great benefits for physical health.

Social media for seniors may seem unimportant to some, but it really does have the ability to positively affect your health and that of aging loved ones.

Do you know any seniors who love social media? Share your story in the comments!

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Kendall E. Van Blarcom, Psy.M. Licensed Psychotherapist (Retired)

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