Armed with just a computer (or wireless devices) and a few tips, seniors can find whole new digital landscapes opened to them. It is relatively easy to find an internet connection these days and, once you are online, you can explore the far reaches of the universe or undiscovered treasures right in your own neighborhood. You can also meet new people or strengthen relationships with your friends and family.
1. Connect on Social Media
Older adults are adopting social media faster than any other demographic. In 2008, only 1 percent of Americans over the age of 65 reported that they used at least one social media site. Now, however, more than 43 percent of seniors have an active presence on social sites, connecting with friends and family on Facebook or sharing their deepest thoughts and life experiences in 140 characters or less on Twitter. But there are other sharing sites that have been less popular with today’s older generations which seniors could be exploring.
Instagram is a great place to share pictures and recipes, while Google+ allows you to build social media communities where you can share your thoughts, videos, and pictures with just a few people or the whole world.
Seniors love social media because it is a way to stay connected with people without making a large time commitment. Unlike having guests or traveling to someone’s home for a chat, you can turn your social media experience on and off as desired – chat for hours at a time or for just a few minutes.
2. Listen to Podcasts and Ted Talks
Podcasts are audio broadcasts that you can listen to on your Ipad or Apple computers, while Ted Talks are audio programs that you can listen to on PCs and laptops. Both Podcasts and Ted Talks are an easy way to listen to speeches, interviews and conversations about subjects that are important to you, without wasting your time on topics that do not interest you.
Most Ted Talks and Podcasts are free and easy to find on most subscription or streaming services.
3. Read blogs
The blog, which is a portmanteau of the phrase “web log,” originally started as a personal opinion piece, somewhat like the OpEd column in the newspaper. Today’s blogs, however, can be opinion pieces, fiction, or informative content. A blog written by a doctor can help you understand the results of a complex scientific study, for example, and a blog written by a quilting expert to describe the benefits of using a certain fabric.
4. Stay up to date on news
Whether it is news from around the world or around the corner, the internet makes it easy for you to keep up on all the current events that are important to you.
The Associated Press prints breaking news reports on its front page, as do many of the major television news outlets. Medical News Today has all the latest news on aging, from research results to scientific breakthroughs. Many major news outlets also maintain a presence on Twitter, Facebook and other social media platforms. You can also use email and social media to keep up on all the latest events in your family and in your neighborhood.
5. Enjoy music
The tools of the Digital Age make it easier than ever before to enjoy your favorite songs, explore new types of music, and rediscover forgotten tunes. Many seniors have heard about the trouble kids have gotten into downloading music illegally on the internet and are therefore a little leery about listening to music online. But, if you use the right service, there’s nothing to fear.
To avoid any problems, you can stream music for free on popular platforms like YouTube and Spotify while services like iTunes offer free and low-cost music for download. All of these sites are user-friendly, especially for seniors who are newly digitally savvy.
Living well has never been easier with the internet and a little digital savvy. Stay connected for a long, healthy and happy life.