If you’re not sure about social media and the web, consider this. Community has become a thing of the past in many places: neighbors don’t know one another, we live apart from our families, and people often feel disconnected. Technology can change this, and as a baby boomer, it can make your life better in many ways. Here’s how.
When we’re employed or self-employed, we have people around us: suppliers, customers, partners. When we retire, these connections often end without that in-person contact. This needn’t be the case: you can set up an online group and keep the conversation going even after everyone's initial connection is gone. Use Facebook or a group email for this.
Loneliness is endemic in our society. The effects go beyond our state of mind and affect overall health, even causing a risk of death similar to smoking and alcohol consumption factors. Staying in touch with friends and colleagues using technology is not a luxury but is essential to good mental health in later life.
As we grow older, we can feel disconnected from our families by distance and not understand what the younger generation is doing. A birthday card, a visit at Christmas don’t make a relationship. So if you're disconnected from grandchildren, godchildren, nieces, and nephews, use technology to stay in their lives. Then you’ll be part of their lives.
Many adolescents and young adults use messaging apps, such as WhatsApp or Snapchat, to stay in touch. They’re simple to use, and not just for the young. Fun filters, photo sharing, and live chats can make you immediately feel like part of your family’s life, instead of feeling like a distant relative.
If you’re still watching one daily news report, the web can help you feel more in touch with the world, especially in difficult times. Being in the know means listening to various sources, side-stepping the fake news, and forming your own opinion.
The web allows us to do this. Why not visit several news sites and subscribe to a daily email update? You’ll see a big difference in the focus of the news stories. You could add some news sites from different countries: The New Yorker has great journalism, and Reuters is known for its lack of political bias, as is the Associated Press.
Are you a tweeter? You’ve probably heard Twitter mentioned on the news. It’s often the place a politician makes a statement or a celebrity makes an unwise comment. Remember, Twitter is never dull!
There's a growing community of baby boomers on Twitter. You don't need to tweet to be on Twitter. You can enjoy reading. Let hashtags guide you to interesting, inspiring conversations. For example, search for the hashtags #disruptaging and #positiveaging.
When it’s difficult to get out and meet people, the web is a way to connect local communities. Your area will probably have a group on Facebook. If you don't like this platform, investigate the Nextdoor app, a growing global platform of local networks.
You can find out who’s giving away a surplus of apples, help look for a missing cat or recommend a joiner. It’s a great way to feel part of where you live when visiting a neighbor isn’t possible. You might end up with a whole new group of local friends!
With streaming services, you can watch a movie or a TV series whenever you like. What a difference this flexibility can make in your life. Are you feeling blue? Watch a comedy. Are you having trouble sleeping? Put on a classic movie. You never have to wait for a show to come on anymore.
The web provides a wealth of clubs and subscription services to help us better our lives. These types of things weren't available in the past. If you like beauty products, why not subscribe to a service like Birchbox? They deliver a box of tiny samples for you to try each month. Do you like wine? Companies like Naked Wines don’t just offer bottles for delivery; they have virtual wine tastings too.
Social media and the web have become more vital than ever, especially to the older population. So take advantage of the virtual tours, online communities, support networks, video streaming services, and everything else you find. Try new things and enjoy what the online world has to offer!
About the Author
George Jerjian is an original ‘Retirement Rebel,’ a mindset mentor whose passion and purpose is to help retiring baby-boomers: the generation that coaching often overlooks. You can connect with George through his website: www.georgejerjian.com.