Who says senior citizens can't keep up in the fast paced tech world we live in? Apparently, our older Americans have decided to get tech savvy or get left behind. In a recent Pew Research Center study published in McKnight's Senior Living, a majority of senior citizens are now getting their news from social media.
The numbers show our older Americans are getting more comfortable by the day using their computer or smart phone to access information. For the first time in the Center's survey history, over half (55%) of those 50 and older are getting their news from social media. This represents a 10% increase over last year's report. According to the survey, Facebook and LinkedIn were the leading social media outlets for their information, but Twitter and YouTube were close behind.
If we take a look at just internet access, those numbers have exploded for senior citizens as well. Back in 2000, only 14% of seniors were internet users. Today, we see a dramatic increase, 67% for those 65 and over going online with a majority of those using high speed internet. By just looking at smart phone usage, 4 in 10 seniors are now using smart phones, up from 18% to 42% since 2013.
According to a May 2017 article, the Pew Research Center found older Americans continue to lag behind the younger generation adapting to technology, but they are more digitally connected than ever. The Pew Research Center was impressed with the growing technology trend in the senior community and thought certain groups of seniors that were highly educated could keep up with the younger crowd.
Our older Americans have their challenges from confidence to physical issues when using technology, but once they begin and get comfortable, they typically make it part of their daily routine. According to an article in Huffington Post, with concerns over privacy, seniors don't usually use social media like the younger generation, but now that is changing daily. The aging population really enjoys reading up on health sites and connecting with others with similar challenges they are family members may be facing. Seniors are finding that it is easy to engage in discussion groups form cancer to Alzheimer’s and can do it all from their living room.
As seniors continue to get more comfortable using technology and the internet, accessing social media sites to connect for news, family or friendships will steadily become a major part of their routine. When accessing social media sites, we ask that you always use secure passwords and safeguard information about yourself.