An increasing number of seniors are turning to social media as a way to connect with family and friends. Social media can provide a safe and easy way for seniors to stay updated and connected with family members – especially with loved ones that live out-of-state. Websites like Facebook can provide seniors who might be feeling lonely with a good sense of companionship.
FirstLight franchisee Michael LaVell was featured this week in Michigan Senior Living and provided expert commentary on ways seniors can utilize social media safely. Here are some things to keep in mind when getting your senior familiar with social media.
1. Depending on how computer savvy the senior is, make it a point to sit down with your elder and walk him/her through the steps of setting up an account. Whether it be Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, spend time helping them navigate the website’s step-by-step welcoming instructions.
2. Once the account is setup, practice logging on with your elder. If it makes it easier to remember, write down the username and log-in information and keep it in a secured place. You could even spend a nice afternoon helping them fill out their profile information and uploading photos.
3. Encourage out-of-state family members to create a blog so family everywhere can log on and see what’s going on in their lives. It’s a great way for your senior to stay connected and blogs are free and easy to set up.
4. Not only can social media sites be very fun and a great way to stay connected, it’s important to make sure you have the appropriate privacy settings on their account. Making their Facebook page only visible to friends and family is a good way to protect their security and avoid potential scams.
5. Remind seniors not to give out too much personal information on their profiles that potential criminals could obtain. Identity information such as their address and cell phone number are not things they need to include with their contact information. The city of residence and email address is enough information to allow your senior to connect with others yet maintain security.
6. Make sure your elderly loved ones know not to open emails or attachments from people they don’t know. Inform them that some attachments could contain a virus and infect their computer.