Social media and people aged 65+

27/9/11***NO REPRO FEE***Pictured is 90 year old Larry Wilmott from Dalkey with Overall winner 76 Year Old Grandmother Who Sold Her House Online Wins Google Silver Surfer Award with Age Action. Dorothy Harrington pictured with her husband Paddy, a 76 year old grandmother of four from Sandymount, Dublin 4, originally from Co. Down, was today crowned the overall winner of the Google Silver Surfer Awards with Age Action. Minister for Communications, Energy & Natural Resources, Pat Rabbitte T.D. presented Dorothy with her award and a brand new Google Chromebook laptop at a ceremony held at Google Headquarters in Dublin.Pic:Marc O'Sullivan

Interesting data on computer literacy and attitude toward using of social media by people aged 65+ was gained by the consortium from 5 EU countries of the Erasmus+ project e-Active-: Fostering competences to promote active aging through a social participation e-tool. The main project results are Co-designed Training Syllabus for Professionals and Development of a User Friendly e-tool for both seniors and professionals working with them.

Useful data was also published by the Balkan Institute for Labor and Social Policy as a result of a study carried out within the framework of an international project (SAAM – Supporting Active Aging through Multimodal Coaching), in which 10 organizations from five European countries participate. Local partners of the Balkan Institute for Labor and Social Policy are the Bulgarian Red Cross and Caritas Bulgaria.

The survey shows that people between 66 and 70 years using a computer are almost 74%. More than half of seniors over 70 also work with a computer. Almost as many people use the Internet and email. However, every fifth of them does not know what a smartwatch is.

Smartphones are not preferred among the elderly people cared for by Bulgarian Red Cross and “Caritas Bulgaria” – they prefer to use old-generation mobile phones. Among them, Internet-based communication applications such as WhatsApp, Skype, Viber, Messenger are relatively not widely distributed. In Bulgaria, usually, all elderly people have a TV, slightly more than half – a radio. More than 2/3 measure their own blood pressure or blood sugar.

This data was collected because of the main goal of the project, namely the creation of a virtual health assistant. Given that most representatives of the age group over 60 suffer from hypertension – half of the men and 60% of women, the share of diabetes sufferers is also high, 6% of both sexes have experienced at least one stroke, it would be useful for these users to have a device that is worn on the arm or on clothing and constantly monitors basic vital signs such as blood pressure and heart rate.

The need for such studies, the use of their results, and the creation of innovative products and solutions through various projects such as SAAM and e-Active, are of undoubted benefit for the healthy aging and social inclusion of the elderly.