Over the last couple of years, the world has changed drastically in a way somewhat hostile to older adults. After all, for generations that generally dislike using online means of communication entirely, getting together with friends and just spending time with someone in person is nearly impossible nowadays hurts a lot. It can be tough to suddenly adapt to having minimal contact with others due to health concerns. And so, to make up for this, older adults are now being forced to go online and socialize using the internet. This comes with all sorts of challenges, however. Mainly having avoided the online world of social media and similar content, it is hard to expect to become an expert in using these means to socialize suddenly. To help overcome this, we’ve prepared a guide on how older adults can socialize online.
Start small with emails
Time to make the most of the changes brought on by Covid-19? Even if you do not know anything about technology or using the internet to communicate, you can learn by taking small steps. The easiest starting point is, without a doubt, email. You’re probably already familiar with it, even if you’ve only read messages sent by family members. However, the real advantage of starting with your emails is getting used to typing. Typing can be difficult for beginners and will seem to take forever at first. But, the more you do it, the better you’ll get! So, keep at it since it’ll let you quickly grow to the point of being ready to move on. Email also offers a pretty good basis for understanding what you need to communicate online: a username, or in this case, the email of the other person.
Test out video chatting
Trying to ensure that older adults can socialize on the Internet might seem like rushing things to jump from email straight to video chatting. However, consider this: there is plenty of simple video chatting software. Using email will also firmly establish the link before people and their usernames, so it should be easy to navigate a limited contact list. Especially if you have a younger family member, help you add friends, family, or acquaintances you want to video chat with. After that, it’s just a simple matter of clicking the call button!
Spend some time on social media
After video-chatting and email, it is time to move on to something more complex. Social media can be more complicated than anything you’ve handled before. Some platforms are relatively simple, such as Twitter. So, as long as you understand how to navigate different profiles, you should be fine. The one crucial thing to learn is the difference between private messages and public posts. Of course, this is also the point where it is essential to look into some simple advice for seniors concerned about internet safety. This would, after all, mark the first time you would be really accessible to the broader world of the internet.
Check out virtual versions of classical games
The next step in ensuring older adults can socialize online is trying out online games! There are plenty of classical games, such as chess, Cluedo, monopoly and even all sorts of card games you can play. Best of all, most of these games have a chatting option while playing. You can amuse yourself while having relaxing game sessions and chatting either with friends or complete strangers who share your taste in gaming. This way, you would alleviate loneliness and socialize and be potentially making new friends, too!
Look for senior-focused websites
There are a surprising number of websites out there focused on older internet users. They organize all sorts of events. You can sign up for courses that will better teach you how to use tech and online tools. You can socialize with others online in organized meetings. Some even organize game nights with all sorts of fun activities. Of course, to make the most of online events, you need to try them out and find what works best for you. No matter how well organized a literature discussion session is, you won’t get anything out of it if you aren’t really interested in reading or talking about books. The key here is to take advantage of everything offered to socialize and continue growing your technological skills. At this point, you should have a pretty solid grasp of how things work, but there’s still more to learn.
Play around with apps
The final step of how older adults can socialize online is trying to play around with various apps. Having already spent a considerable amount of time online, it should be safe for you to look for apps independently. There are even some senior-friendly apps out there, such as Simple Social. It is a somewhat simplified social media platform access app geared towards seniors. Naturally, you do not need to limit yourself to these alone. There’s an entire world of apps out there that allow you to have fun, socialize, and even learn more about how seniors can make their lives better. It is up to you to discover them and make the best use possible!
Now that you know more about how older adults can socialize online, it should be evident that it needs to be a gradual path to independent internet use. This does, however, mean that you should not rush ahead on your own. Having a younger family member by your side to help guide you and explain things will be immensely helpful. It will also help prevent silly mistakes that all new users tend to make as they learn. You might feel it is an annoyance or a limitation, but there is nothing wrong with asking for help!