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Insta-Gram Part 2: The Internet and Aging Adults

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Associate Care Manager Gregory Peebles returns with a series on the Internet and aging. Gregory is both a Certified Senior Advisor (CSA) and Certified Dementia Practitioner (CDP) whose work focuses on helping aging adults and folks with limited independence by providing resources and support to help them discover and lead their best life. Gregory has been a part of CCM, Inc. for over a decade. – Charlotte

We think of the Internet as a place that caters to young people. While this is mostly true, it remains so only because that’s the way our culture trends–not because virtual reality becomes suddenly indecipherable to those of us who have crossed the threshold of middle age (or older). As we mentioned in this topic’s introductory post, recent data tell us that at least two-thirds of Americans 65+ have a reason to be online. So what are they doing? Where are they? Let’s take a quick look.

  1. Email. This is still top of the game for our older community. In fact, the older a person is, the more likely they are to view email as a way of sharing information.  This is the way the Silent Generation prefers to use the Internet: by staying in touch, more casually even than by using the telephone.
  2. Shopping. Silver is where the gold is. Online marketers have figured out that aging adults spend more money online than any of their generational counterparts, and that the same people are more than twice as likely to spend on products that report improved quality of life, and vendors are taking note. Amazon recently developed the 50+ Active and Healthy Living Store, and its initial success will doubtless inspire more, similar online shops from already successful providers.
  3. Socializing. Seniors are on Facebook, too! (And at a growing rate … a little more than half of folks surveyed; other social platforms don’t register anything close to these numbers.) Facebook has become the virtual town square to many Americans. More and more folks get some version of news media from the social giant. Facebook, which integrates new, non-social features, seems to be positioning itself to become The Only Internet Anyone Needs.
  4. Dating. Online dating has taken a swift upturn in the last few years, and adults 60+ are the most rapidly growing group in the pool. While services like SeniorMatch are geared specifically to those looking for love later in life, Match.com reports 4.5 million active users in the demographic!

Now that we know where they are and what they’re doing, we can start to address issues of safety. Next week we’ll be talking about the security dangers that our older loved ones can face on-line.

Charlotte Bishop is an Aging Life Care Advisor, Geriatric Care Manager and founder of Creative Care Management, certified professionals who are geriatric advocates, resources, counselors and friends to older adults and their families in metropolitan Chicago.  She also is and Amazon Best Selling author of a new guide for caregivers to older adults with dementia: How Do I Know You: A Caregiver’s Lifesaver for Dealing with Dementia

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