Unshelved by Bill Barnes and Gene Ambaum
comic strip overdue media

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I think it enriched her life

UK's oldest Tweeter Ivy Bean dies at 104

Most residents of care homes, especially those who have reached the ripe old age of 104, are lucky if their family or friends visit. For someone who is a very social person, the Bingo games and other activities to help while away the hours just don't cut it. But for the enterprising resident...

there's Facebook and Twitter.

Ivy Bean joined Facebook in 2007, and then Twitter a year later. She soon became a celebrity as UK's oldest tweeter and had over 56,000 followers, who received the sad news, through the feed, that Ms. Bean had died. Her posts primarily talked about her daily life and her friends. It sounds like she was a very engaging lady who had friends and admirers both in the real world and the virtual one, and she enjoyed the attention of the media. This comes just two weeks after an Australian woman, 108, dubbed the 'world's oldest blogger', died.

In both cases, the women were in nursing homes. In Ms. Bean's, the computer was originally meant for staff development but was opened up for residents' use. I think that's wonderful. As we age we become less physically active and it's easy to become socially isolated, which can affect the mind and increase the chance of senility, in my opinion. Engaging in interactive computer services may keep the mind sharp and foster a greater connexion to the outer world. All care homes should consider making computers available. I think many assume older people would not adapt well. I think there are people of every generation who are willing to try new things, especially when its uses are demonstrated. Although according to one study only 3% of social media users are 65+ I suspect that will change quickly as the Boomers reach that age (my mom, born in 1947, turns 63 this year, and she's on Facebook). 10% were 55-64. The largest group is my own, the 35-44 one, which has 25% of all users on social media sites studied. Indeed, 64% of Twitter’s users are aged 35 or older, 61% of Facebooks’s users are aged 35 or older, and the service with the greatest number of older uses is Classmates.com, indicating that re-connecting with old friends is a major thing for older users. 8% of its users are 65 and older; 78% are 35 or older. [Which makes sense, since the younger ones are still interacting with a lot of their high school friends in real life. :)]

Think how much your life revolves around the use of a computer now, either on the Internet or off. How would you feel if you were in a nursing home without access to one? No wi-fi, not even a desktop station somewhere? I hope adminstrators are considering this for the near future....

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