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Marissa Salvesen

By: Marissa Salvesen on February 13th, 2024

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How Seniors Use Social to Connect with Grandkids, Friends & More

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As technology continues to evolve rapidly, social media has become an indispensable tool for connecting people across generations. Seniors, a group once perceived as technologically hesitant, have begun embracing social platforms and leveraging them to bridge the gap with grandkids, reconnect with old friends and explore a world of possibilities. This newfound digital connection has the potential to not only enhance seniors’ social lives, but also contribute significantly to their overall well-being.



The shift from fearing technology to embracing it is a testament to the transformative nature of digital connectivity and the evolving perceptions surrounding it. Though seniors may have been initially apprehensive due to an unfamiliarity and perceived complexity of the digital world, many have witnessed firsthand the profound impact that technology can have on their social lives. Plus, many digital platforms have become more user-friendly and intuitive, enabling seniors to discover the simplicity of connecting with loved ones through social media, video calls and messaging applications. Ongoing efforts to make technology more accessible and tailored to seniors' needs have further facilitated this paradigm shift.


The appeal of witnessing grandchildren's milestones in real-time, rekindling old friendships and exploring shared interests within online communities has become a major draw toward social media use by seniors. Many have been compelled to adapt to digital tools for communication and information access when physical interactions have been limited (such as during the pandemic). As these seniors have experienced the positive outcomes of their digital engagements, it’s paved the way for a widespread recognition of technology as an invaluable tool for enhancing social connections and overall well-being. Following are some of the most popular ways seniors are now using social to enhance their lives.


Reconnecting with Grandkids


Social media has proven to be a transformative force for grandparents eager to stay in touch with their grandchildren, especially when geographical distances pose a challenge. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp provide a virtual space for sharing updates and photos, and even engaging in heartwarming video calls. Seniors can now witness their grandkids' milestones in real time, fostering a profound sense of closeness and involvement in their lives.


As younger generations spend increasingly more time engaged with social platforms, these outlets are prominent ways for seniors to find and connect with their family members. The interactive nature of these platforms allows seniors to actively participate in their grandchildren's interests, whether it's through commenting on photos, sharing their own stories or playing online games together. This type of dynamic engagement nurtures familial bonds and introduces seniors to the digital world their grandchildren inhabit.


Reviving Old Friendships


For many seniors, social media serves as a digital time machine, allowing them to reconnect with friends from their past. From high school buddies to former colleagues and long-lost neighbors, platforms like Facebook facilitate the rekindling of relationships. Sharing memories, swapping stories and catching up on each other's lives can be a profoundly fulfilling experience, bringing a sense of nostalgia and camaraderie that may have been lost over the years.


The ability to create and join private groups dedicated to specific periods in one's life further enhances the reconnection experience. These virtual spaces act as reunions of sorts, providing seniors with an opportunity to relive shared experiences and build upon the enduring foundations of friendship.


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Joining Special Interest Groups


Seniors are also exploring the diverse world of social media to join groups and communities that align with their interests. From book clubs to gardening enthusiasts, there's a group for almost every hobby imaginable. This not only provides an avenue for making new friends, but also fosters a profound sense of belonging and shared passion among like-minded individuals.


These groups can serve as valuable sources of information and support. Whether it's exchanging gardening tips, discussing the latest books or seeking advice on a new hobby, seniors can actively engage in meaningful conversations that transcend geographical boundaries. In this way, seniors have the power to nurture their own interests and develop healthy connections with others who share those pastimes. 


Participating in Virtual Events


Social media platforms offer seniors the opportunity to participate in virtual events and activities, which can be a significant way to mitigate feelings of isolation. These types of events span a wide gamut of areas and interests, from live-streamed concerts to online fitness classes or virtual art gallery tours. They become the catalyst for seniors to engage in a myriad of activities from the comfort of their homes, which can help to enhance mental and emotional well-being.


The flexibility and accessibility of virtual events cater to a diverse range of interests, ensuring that seniors can find activities that resonate with them. This inclusive approach not only broadens their cultural horizons, but also provides a sense of connection to a global community.


Learning & Skill Development


The digital era has ushered in an abundance of resources for seniors to learn new skills and stay mentally active. Platforms like YouTube and LinkedIn provide tutorials and courses, enabling seniors to explore interests such as painting, cooking or even coding. This avenue for continuous learning supports a senior’s capacity to stimulate the mind as well as instill a sense of accomplishment and purpose.


With the interactive nature of these platforms, seniors have the opportunity to connect with experts, share their own experiences and collaborate with peers who share similar interests. This collaborative learning environment fosters a sense of community, promoting knowledge exchange and personal growth.


Maintaining Health & Well-Being


Social media also plays a crucial role in promoting health and well-being among seniors. Through online support groups, seniors can share health tips, seek advice and connect with others facing similar challenges. This sense of community and shared experiences can help improve mental health and build a stronger sense of resilience.


Additionally, the integration of health tracking features on certain platforms allows seniors to monitor their fitness progress, set wellness goals and receive support from their digital communities. The synergy between social connection and health promotion creates a holistic approach to well-being in the digital age.


Given all the opportunities provided by social avenues, more and more seniors are not just adapting to the digital era; they are thriving in it. The use of social media as a powerful tool for connecting with grandkids, rekindling old friendships and exploring new options for personal growth can truly transform one’s later stages of life. As technology continues to evolve, the potential for seniors to benefit from social media will undoubtedly expand, fostering a richer and more connected environment. 


To find out how United Methodist Homes provides a wealth of offerings and opportunities to support the health and wellbeing of our residents, contact us today or schedule a complimentary visit now

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About Marissa Salvesen

My journey into the world of senior living began when I started working for United Methodist Homes in 2010. Starting as an Activities Director at one of our-winning assisted and independent living communities and then transitioning to Marketing and Promotions Manager for UMH, I now work as the Manager of Mission Development, fostering the Mission and Values of our organization. I love sharing stories about the many ways we build meaningful relationships and enrich the lives of those we serve, and am proud to be part of building UMH’s 140-year legacy of caring. Wondering what makes our communities such special places to live and work? Connect with me and find out!

Our Blog is a 2016 Platinum Generations Award Winner! The Generations Award is an annual international competition for excellence in senior marketing recognizing professionals who have communicated to the 50+ Mature Markets.