CATONSVILLE, MD (March 31, 2015) -- A recent study from Pew Research Center shows the use of Facebook and other social networks are on the rise among older adults. For the first time, more than half of all online adults 65 and older (56%) use Facebook, up from 45% who did so in late 2013 and 35% who did so in late 2012. Among those who go online, Pew found that 71 percent do so every day or every other day, while 11 percent do so three to five times per week.
Charlestown retirement community residents are proof of this. They are embracing Facebook, using it to connect with friends worldwide, post photos and obtain daily news feeds.
Charlestown retirement community debuted its Facebook page in January 2014.The Charlestown Facebook page today receives 5,000 to 10,000 visitors each week.
"When someone clicks the 'Like' button or posts a comment on our page their friends may also see Charlestown's name appear in their 'news feed' and the number of people who read about Charlestown increases exponentially," says Sue Ellen Grove, the administrator for Charlestown's Facebook page (Erickson Living, which manages Charlestown, also has its own Facebook page).
Charlestown resident Joy Gould was initially reluctant to start using Facebook, but discovered it was the easiest way to connect with her son in California.
"Email was always my preferred method of communication, but that doesn't work for his generation," says Joy. "After I started spending more time on Facebook I connected with people from different eras of my life—people I haven't had contact with for more than 40 years. It's been a lot of fun to reconnect with people."
Joy occasionally posts photos and comments to the Charlestown Facebook page.
This past January Charlestown's Public Affairs Manager Mel Tansill started a year-long social media campaign on Facebook called "365 Days at Charlestown Retirement Comunity" featuring a different Charlestown resident each day in 2015.
"I wanted to do something that would blend social media together with our Charlestown residents' lives each and every day of the year," says Tansill. "Facebook is the perfect venue to showcase our residents' personalities and their individual, unique life values."
Along with their photo and former occupation, Tansill asks each Charlestown resident featured their thoughts on virtue, happiness, and their motto in life.
"Residents tell me they enjoy reading about their neighbors through the 365 Days project," says Tansill. "To my knowledge no organization has ever had a project of this nature."
Charlestown resident Ann MacKay was featured on the community's Facebook page as part of the 365 Days project. Ann taught a Facebook for Beginners class at the community and personally uses Facebook to keep in touch with friends and family.
"It's so easy to get started on Facebook. You kind of just learn as you go," says Ann who has been on Facebook since 2007. "I usually look at my Facebook page twice a day. I have both Charlestown and Erickson Living's pages on my news feed so I am getting the information every time I log on. It's a great way to keep up with different things going on in the community."