Facebook for Seniors Could cure Depression Researchers Say

This is a guest post by Maria Rainier.

In its infancy stages, Facebook was designed to be accessible to exclusively college students – only those with a college email address could create an account. Since then, Facebook is now available to everyone over the age 14. While youngsters still dominate the site, within the past three years or so there has been a spike of “elderly” people using the social media site to reconnect with old friends and family members.

senior woman alone

In fact, studies show that being more active on the internet (particularly with social media sites) can help alleviate depression, a condition that is common with senior citizens – especially those placed in nursing homes and assisted living facilities. It makes sense, oftentimes seniors are forced to be separated from their families and friends and develop a deep sense of loneliness. But Facebook can give you an instant connection to friends and family you haven’t seen in years. Of course, you need to first learn how to use Facebook. While there should be various computer and internet training courses available to seniors in your local community, you can get a head start by learning how to set up an account.

Create an Email Account

In order to create an account, you will need to have a working email. If you do not have an email address, you can create one for free using various e-mail services. My personal favorite is Gmail. To create an email address, simply click on the “create an account tab” on the upper right hand corner and follow the directions. It’s typically best to have your first initial and your last name as your address. So for example Mary Jane should be mjane@gmail.com. If that’s already taken, you can vary it up by adding dots or underscores, such as m.jane@gmail.com or m_jane@gmail.com

Create a Facebook Account

Once you have an email address, proceed with creating an account. To do so, visit Facebook’s main page and fill out the form that says “create a new account.” After you’ve completed this step, it will ask you to search for friends via email. If you have just created an email address chances you won’t be able to find any of your “friends” this way, so click on “skip this step” located near the bottom. Fill out your profile information so that others can find you. You can upload a photo or take one with your web cam if your computer has one. Or you can skip the step if it seems too complicated. The last step requires you to “search for people you know.” Take this time to search for grandchildren, children, or friends. If they don’t immediately show up, tell your loved ones to find you on Facebook to make things easier.

Extra Things to Consider

Once you’ve established some “friends,” you need to learn how to communicate with them. You can do this several ways. The most common is to go to your “friend’s” profile and write in the text box that says “Write something here” – please be aware that these interactions on timelines are public, so if you want to send a private message click on the tab where it says “message.” You can also update your status on your own profile page. Typically users will write once or twice a day about what they’re thinking or what they did that day. If you don’t want everyone to know your personal business, refrain from writing it as a status since all of your “friends” can view it.

Getting the hang of social media can be complicated at first, but with some practice you should be able to use it and connect with all your loved ones in no time.

Author Bio: Maria Rainier is a devoted blogger who writes on topics concerning higher education and technology. She has her finger on the pulse of the online education industry, and she delights in writing about the benefits of online bachelor’s degrees in our digital society. Please share your comments with Maria below!

Image credit: courtesy of Walmink via Flickr

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