Social media is no longer just for teenagers and college students. More older adults have begun using websites such as Facebook, and recent research shows that an active electronic social life may lead to happiness and fewer feelings of isolation.
"There is no doubt that the seniors who are most active and engaged in a variety of activities also tend to have a more positive mental attitude and suffer from fewer physical ailments," noted Dr. Patrick Towne of Cadence Physician Group, the director of an Illinois senior living community. "They are actively aging."
Facebook use is rising for older adults. A 2011 Pew Internet survey found that nearly one-third of those between the ages of 50 and 64 now use a social media website on a regular basis, up from 20 percent just one year earlier. The number of younger adults regularly using the technology remained close to the same between 2010 and 2011, however, while seniors slowly warm up to the trend.
Independent seniors relying on private care in the home may be able to avoid the feelings of isolation and social disconnection sometimes associated with retirement through websites such as Facebook and MySpace.