The following is an excerpt from MICHAEL HODIN | May 18, 2012 | thefiscaltimes.com |
For years, social media was seen as a new toy for the young and hip. But as Facebook’s record-setting IPO has shown, social media is a cultural and economic behemoth. For young and old alike, social is the thing. And with a global population that will include two billion over age 60 in the next couple of decades, even Facebook will respond to the aging population marketplace.
Plenty of new data shows adults and older generations are digitally connected. According to Edison Research, “Americans age 45 and older represent the largest percentage increase in social media usage in the past year, now up to 38 percent (from 31 percent in 2011).” Another study claims it’s “noteworthy that social media isn’t dominated by the youngest, often most tech-savvy generations” but by “middle-aged people.” What this trend amounts to, in the words of PEW Research, is “the graying of social networking.”
Too often, though, the importance of social media and its potential for connecting older adults is absent from conversations about healthy aging. And too often, discussions of “aging and connectivity” ignore social needs and instead focus on technical, traditional medical needs.
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