Social Apps for Seniors: 3 Easy Wins
Date: 15 Dec 2020
Help your elderly loved ones get together with our Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp Tips.
Regular communication between friends and family has predominantly moved online, with photos and videos being a wonderful way to stay connected. For many grandparents across the country, this has become an invaluable way to stay involved in the day to day activities of their extended family.
These circumstances are challenging for all of us. Hopefully, these tips can be used to support those who may be feeling lonely and isolated.
If you’re familiar with Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, supporting your elderly relative by setting them up with a profile could easily enhance their day to day life. ‘Getting down with the kids’ is easy with our three top tips for each app listed below.
All you need is a smart device and an email address, and Facebook can be downloaded in seconds.
- Uploading photos and videos
The quickest and easiest way to stay connected is to upload photos and videos to Facebook directly from your camera roll. As long as you’re added as friends, your elderly relative will be able to see and engage with your feed.
- Sharing memories
One of Facebook’s most popular features is the ability to re-share ‘memories’, which are historical posts that were shared today, but years ago. For those who have recently joined Facebook, such as a grandparent, you’ll be able to share historical posts to their wall which they may have never seen before. Who doesn’t love a trip down memory lane?
- Connecting with local groups
In recent years, Facebook has moved its focus toward Facebook groups, bringing local communities together. This might include local walking groups, as well as local giving and sharing groups, which if you live far away could really help bring the local community directly to your elderly relative’s door. This could be hugely reassuring for both you and them during these challenging times
As a visual platform, Instagram is wonderful for sharing those snapshot moments throughout the day.
- Enhanced privacy settings
One feature that may be particularly appealing about Instagram is how shut off a private account is. If your Instagram account is set to private, visitors to your profile who aren’t ‘followers’ will only see your current profile photo. Nothing more.
- Sharing stories only with ‘close friends’
A new feature on Instagram is the ability to share a story with just close friends. Stories can be uploaded directly from the camera roll on your smart device, and appear for 24 hours to anyone who clicks on your profile photo. If you choose the new feature to share only with close friends, this allows you to select just a few individuals able to see that story. For an elderly relative, this means the ability to share little updates throughout the day, personal to them, without the rest of your followers being able to see them.
- Have fun with music on stories
Using music on stories is becoming ever more popular. By selecting the ’music sticker’ on your Instagram story, you can add a bit of pizzazz to what could have been a rather ordinary update. Imagine a few seconds of footage to your little one stamping in puddles to the tune of Bobby Darin, ‘Splish, Splash’!
WhatsApp could be the right choice for someone a little more cautious when it comes to technology. If they’re familiar with good old-fashioned SMS texting, then this is perfect – with the added benefit of easily sharing photos and videos.
- Voice notes can be sent instead of messages
If using a touchscreen keyboard is challenging due to eyesight, confidence or dexterity, then WhatsApp has a very simple feature to bypass typing altogether. You can send voice notes quickly and easily by holding down the microphone button on the bottom right hand side of a new message. Just like an answerphone message, they’ll be able to hear you speak, and listen to it over and over again if they wish.
- Group messages
Something that WhatsApp does particularly well is group messaging. With families often spread across multiple households, this is an easy way to stay connected, no matter what your postcode might be.
- Video call
When photos, videos and voice notes just won’t cut it, perhaps it’s time for a video call? By clicking the camera icon next to a contact’s name, you can video call a friend or relative with ease.
The only point left to consider is ensuring your loved one is set up with a decent Wi-Fi connection, so as to avoid unnecessary data costs, avoid buffering and reduce loading times.