Back to The Future: Supporting Social Media for Senior Citizens.

PaulaSinton    July 15, 2015

Technology has caught up with our imaginations. A blog on the Future of Social Media? Where would I begin? The possibilities are endless veering off into the corners of every industry in almost every nation.  Everyday we see things we can’t believe are real from every part of the world. (3D printer anyone?) We have seen massive industries collapse. People replaced with technology. Money-making services created on “connection” (Uber), that exist on a cloud, employ people and utilize things we already have. The amount of change that has taken place as a result of social media is almost exhausting and yet so exciting – BUT in all of our delight for the novel, we have left a very large segment of our community far behind.

We’ve gone headstrong targeting Millennials because they are really the first drivers of the social media economy so if you are a company whose sales are driven by them, you have an extensive social media plan in place to match their exuberance and passion for each and every platform that leaps into the market. Successful? Yes. Deeply competitive? Yes – (and expecting to gobble up a largely un-monitored social, audio and visual media system that entertains them for..ahem..FREE)

Including THAT’S social community.

This isn’t just Grandma being unable to change the time on the DVD player.

One only has to spend time in a Seniors Residence to discover that all this “connecting” business has gone over their heads. That’s probably because they are watching traditional news stations and seeing all the negative behavior.  The seniors who have recognized the internet as a great abundance of information probably gave up in googling “their ailments” because they were then swarmed with mis-information and a bunch of kooks trying to sell them some weird natural medicine on the email their grandchildren set-up for them.

Screenshot 2015-07-15 18.39.54The image (to the right) is a screenshot of what you get when you search “Senior Citizens and Social Media” on Youtube on the first page. Now, we want them to interact in these forums? No thanks. Who could blame them?

A chance to do something very nice for our elderly.

I have learned from my own experience that a positive social media experience can be complimentary, if not valuable to daily life. It mostly depends on how I operate it and who I engage with.  A government sponsored education in how to engage in social media?  We do it for our schoolchildren, we should also do it for our senior citizens as well.

Younger sets are moving away from Facebook (that was so last season!) toward newer sites – but for the 50-64 year olds, Facebook is still very “cool.” It allows seniors to stay in touch with family, share pictures and stay up to date with news of the day and friends. –

You can read more about the challenges and opportunities for technology and social media for senior citizens from a caregiving service’s perspective here.


I thought this was a great article from to elaborate on what I’m trying to express here. And here is a great example of the effort made by an seniors home to inspire social media for their clients here.

We can’t ignore the baby boomers and we know that as they age and become less mobile, we are going to have a large part of the population who are at risk of social isolation and depression. I see an opportunity for a win – win using social media as a tool. I’d like to see more applications to help seniors connect.  How about:

1) An in-house application to order food, and see what other people are ordering with a place to comment about the food for better service and feedback for the residents

2) An in-house streaming system for residents that are bedridden with music specifically for their genre or with proven medicinal benefits.  i.e. Music for alzheimers (see below)

3) a forum for families to interact with each other on the senior citizens residential website.

4) an application that is interfaced with the medical unit for a seniors medicinal schedule that can be accessed by caregivers, both family and otherwise.

5) Voice activated or large-type bigger iPads or social media forums to help patients that are limited with their mobility and sight.

The possibilities are endless here too.

A nation’s greatness is measured by how it treats its weakest members. ~Mahatma Ghandi

I can’t finish this blog (my last one for this course!) without a musical element, and so I offer this trailer for a documentary about the impact of music for the elderly – it also speaks to the impact of connection, which is what Social Media was originally intended for but which has now outgrown only to expand into the inevitable commerce driven purpose.

Maybe someone somewhere will make something as magical for our elderly as the products and social media applications we create everyday to entertain Millennials.  As one of the women correctly identifies in the video – “Every human being needs stimulation from the outside”.