Help for Seniors: Teaching Your Parent about Facebook


Last December we published a blog on “How to Introduce Your Parent to Facebook.” The statistics have changed so we are republishing it with the latest stats so as to provide current help for seniors and their families.

Although many senior citizens are avid Facebook users, there are others who aren’t. Facebook, which was launched in 2004, is a great help for seniors to keep family in touch with each other during busy and far from each other’s lives. There are over 36.5 million seniors in the U.S. and 351,000 become senior citizens each year.

Mary Madden, senior research specialist at the Pew Research Center, says a recent Pew survey found that people younger than 50 use social-networking websites to stay in touch with friends, and people older than 50 say they use them to connect with family.

The number of seniors using social networking is rising. The Pew study out June 6, 2012 found that 33% of Internet users ages 65 and older used social-networking websites in 2011, compared with 13% in 2009.

Retirees who use the Internet regularly are 20% to 28% less likely to be classified as depressed, according to a study published in March in the journal Computers in Human Behavior by Shelia Cotten, a sociology professor at the University of Alabama-Birmingham. This is because of the connection and sense of community that is a help for seniors.

If you want your parents or grandparents to stay in touch with family, you might want to give help to your senior family member teaching them to become Facebook users. Let’s spend some time looking at how to go about this.

You need to encourage your parent to be open-minded because no matter what the age, a person can learn to use this technology. If your parent displays a bad attitude, there might be no reason to go any farther at this time. But if your parent shows interest here are some ideas that you can focus on to get them sold on learning. Telling them about how the internet can provide help for seniors might work:

Most grandparents who use Facebook say that they do it to keep an eye on their grandchildren. Facebook is a great source of communication that your parents can use to stay in touch with their family, friends, and people they care for. Facebook is convenient, accessible and not too expensive. This kind of help for seniors can motivate your parent to try something new like Facebook.

Remind your parent that there is nothing magic or odd about Facebook. Be sure you have some clear ideas that you can explain by showing him or her how the internet provides help for seniors.

Remember that older people tend to be patient, persistent, and love learning. They are also just as curious as children. Use these characteristics as you do your training.

Do you think you could help your parent become interested in learning to use Facebook. Have they shown any interest in this help for seniors? Please tell us about it in the box below.