Anything that takes up too much of your time is bad for your health. Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat and Instagram are no exceptions. However, studies show that social media can actually have positive health effects for old people if used moderately.
A recent study shows that the number of pensioners on social media has been on a significant rise over the past couple of years and has projected an even more rapid rise over the next decade.
That, of course, is partly due to the increasing availability and affordability of smartphones, which make for the bulk of devices used by social media users. Regardless of the justification for the recent influx of seniors into the world of social media, there are health positives attached to it and that’s the bottom line.
Here are three health advantages of social media to seniors:
Better Mental Health
Social media are platforms where individuals can share content with friends and relatives. Older people, who may be separated from their family members by long distances and work, can use these websites and applications to check on and keep in touch with their loved ones.
Stress is very common among seniors, and some of the common culprits behind it have been found to be isolation and loneliness. With social media, a senior can view photos of their friends and loved ones on social media and feel contented that they are healthy and doing well. The impact of social media on old people and individuals suffering from depression has been likened to that of a piano on a blind piano player.
It brings peace of mind and prevents their minds from wandering into thoughts that may worsen their depression or trigger self-consciousness. The experience can be even better for them if they can join family groups on platforms such as WhatsApp where they can link up and share with family members all in one place, just like they would at the dinner table.
One of the most effective ways of improving one’s memory is keeping it engaged. By the time you are sixty years old, your brain has developed several neural pathways over which you process and recall information, perform habitual tasks, and solve problems you have faced before without using too much mental effort.
Sticking to these paths, however, will not give your mind the stimulation it requires for further development. You need to work it once in a while with new information and puzzles to expand its capacity and avoid losing what you already know.
Psychology shows that the best brain exercises are the ones that break your routine and not really what you are used to. This is regardless of how intellectually demanding the activity in question is. Social media provides countless opportunities for seniors to learn new things and keep their minds occupied.
They can follow anything from their favorite celebrities and TV shows to news pages and sports teams, and you can always rest assured that your loved one will have something to ponder on a few times every day.
Better Physical Health
This may plausibly not make a lot of sense to you keeping in mind all you need for social media is a charged phone, a comfy couch, and a pair of active eyeballs, which is a concoction of requirements that strongly conflicts with the conventional regimen for good physical health. Well, just sitting there tapping away on your phone will never grow your bicep or reduce your tummy but it can motivate you into getting up and doing something.
If you follow the right social media handles, it is not uncommon to come across a post about a 68-year-old who works out two hours a day, six days a week and is motivated to stick to the regime for the next 15 years. This can be really inspirational to a pensioner around the same age who may have thought they were too old to get anything out of doing ten pushups each morning.
A study was conducted in Italy and the UK where a number of seniors were introduced to social media and monitored for a few months. The changes it caused on them were recorded. One 70-year-old claimed to have had her life rejuvenated. She reportedly found love on the internet and started working on looking good for her new love life.
That is a perfect example of how social media can turn the life of a pensioner around and have them adhering to healthier life routines, albeit indirectly. The changes do not always have to be drastic to inspire healthy habits. Anything that can motivate you to get up and take a walk to the front garden and back is good for your physical health. Perhaps it is time to introduce your senior to social media and let them enjoy the spinoff health positives that come with it.
Catherine Park is a connector with pbnpilot who help businesses find their audience online. She loves writing and is fascinated by the role information plays in today’s ever-changing world.