Blog: Should Grandma Use Facebook ?

Posted in: News on March 20, 2013

This was the title of an item on the American UA News. It was a preliminary research report which had found that the cognitive functions were boosted in older adults who used Facebook, against those who did not. I think Facebook is a brilliant tool, not only for the reason described above, but from the social aspect. We regularly read about older people being lonely and although social media will never take the place of a human face, it provides a window and connection to an outside world that is just not available to some. Older members of my family have started to use Facebook and really enjoy the interaction it can provide. People don’t visit one another as much as they used to and so they love the fact that they can keep up-to-date with what everyone is doing and that they can know instantly if there are any health problems or if anyone is going on holiday etc. There is the thought that with all of the technology available these days that it can take the place of face-to-face interaction and in some cases that may be true, yet I see it as a positive outcome that can enhance a relationship or friendship.From the technical side, using Facebook is not always straightforward. Processes such as setting up your profile, changing security settings and populating your page (e.g. deciding who to accept as a ‘Friend’ etc.), can be daunting at first. However, this has again been a positive in my family as the younger members have spent time with the older members, explaining the ins and outs of the Facebook world and they have connected over a mutual interest. Older family members are now sharing and ‘liking’ posts, especially photographs, left, right and centre! Being on Facebook also sparks conversation as we have some friends in common so we dissect and discuss what is going on with each other.Going back to the original research point, I'm looking forward to the outcome and hope that the world of Facebook can help our older generation in both cognitive performance and social life. If you have examples of any benefits it has had for an older person leave your comments below. Also on our Facebook page, together with our info, we regularly share posts from sites which are of interest to older people, so have a look and don't forget to 'Like' us! Angela TunnicliffeCommunications AdministratorBeth Johnson Foundation


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Louise Middleton   21st Mar 2013 at 16:06

I agree with what Angela is saying and there are great benefits to be had by getting older people to use more technology to connect them better to todays world, their friends and families.

I am currently doing some work around UK Older Peoples Day (1st October) and there is a great news piece on the new website about an older lady called Lilly. Lilly is 108 and celebrated her birthday by being the oldest person to join Twitter, she has been using Facebook for two years after going to computer classes with her daughter. You can read more here: http://olderpeoplesday.co.uk/2012/12/14/tweets-for-lilly-on-her-108th-birthday/

My Ageing Parent has created 6 new short videos online which include: The best iPad apps for the elderly and How to get the elderly on-line as well as safety around the home: http://www.myageingparent.com/videos/

Take a leaf out of Angela's book, help and encourage your older friends and relatives to get online and have another way of keeping socially active.
Louise Middleton
Centre for Intergenerational Practice Manager
Beth Johnson Foundation

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