It seems to me that everyone, from my 11-year-old neighbor to some of our current Home Care Assistance caregivers, have joined the social media world in one way or another. I admit, I myself have a Facebook page, Twitter account and blog. Social media has become not just another hobby, but an integral part of staying in touch with others and staying afloat in the professional world.
What I didn’t know is that baby boomers are now joining social media, like the rest of the world, at an increasingly high rate. According to CBS.com, “Social media use among internet users aged 65 and older grew 100 percent last year, so that one in four (26 percent) people in that age group online are now logging onto Facebook, Twitter and the like.”
The reason for this huge increase: Boomers’ desire to stay in touch with their kids and grandkids who are becoming increasingly distant. A letter, the telephone, even email will not suffice for keeping in touch with mom or dad, grandma or grandpa. These outlets of communication have become archaic, compared social media’s current capabilities.
Social media as a business tool is the second reason for its increased use. Boomers can use it to search for and receive advice concerning local doctors. They also use it to promote themselves and their own professional endeavors. Age is only a number when it comes to using social media for business purposes. It is a trend affecting every age group.
Specifically, one aspect of the article that caught my attention is the rate in which elderly caregivers use social media compared to other boomers. "(Elderly caregivers) use social media for 150 minutes per month and view 70 percent more pages than the average internet user," says Matt Carmichael of Advertising Age magazine while examining a study by gerontologist Laurel Kennedy. "They are driven to these sites by several primary reasons: To validate and reinforce their feelings; To simplify and customize their lives because using social media to keep up with friends and family can help keep things streamlined; and for information and advice" (CBS.com). Caregivers are turning to social media for support throughout the caregiving process.
I see social media in almost every facet of my daily life. There are both positive and negative aspects of it. It will be interesting to see how social media’s presence affects the home care industry even more in the coming years.