Gen-Xer’s Aging Parents Find Support, Engagement Online


Eastfallslocal.Larry Benjamin Social Media.RETOUCHED.FEB16

UPDATE: Larry’s presentation this year will be more hands on — helping people set up profiles, teaching them how to share pictures, comment, etc.  and understand Facebook and how to use it effectively. 

As an award-winning author, Larry approaches social media from the point of view of a storyteller. Facebook is just a tool for telling your own story, reading other’s stories and sharing stories.

Larry shares some interesting stats, including:

  • There are roughly 300 million photo uploads per day on Facebook. (Source: Gizmodo)
  • Worldwide, there are over 1.55 billion monthly active Facebook users, which is a 14 percent increase year over year.
  • 1.01 billion people log onto Facebook daily, which represents a 17% increase year over year (Source: Facebook as 9/30/15)
  • 4.5 billion likes generated daily as of May 2013 which is a 67 percent increase from August 2012 (Source: Facebook)
  • Worldwide, there are over 1.55 billion monthly active Facebook users which is a 14 percent increase year over year. (Source: Facebook as of 9/30/15)
  • 65% of monthly Facebook users use it daily
  • 31% of U.S. seniors use Facebook


Generation Xers — represent!  It’s been awhile since we “kids” born between 1965 & 1980 were in the news, but seems our spotlight is coming around again. This time with less moshing, more mothballs…

Our parents are aging.  Of course they’ve always been “old” but now they’re actually elderly:  today,  47% of GenXers have a parent 65 or older. And forgive us for stating the obvious but these odds keep increasing every year no matter what we do.

The news gets worse. The average employed GenXer who takes time off to provide care for an aging parent sacrifices more than $300,000 in lost wages and benefits over a lifetime. As inevitible financial & emotional burdens barrel at this generation like a freight train, the “Village Movement” (founded in 2001) strives to find new ways to help seniors age in place while easing the burden on their family caregivers.

A “village” is a non-profit, membership-based organization to keep our parents active, healthy and at home as long as possible. At East Falls Village, for example, seniors 55 and over can sign up  for shared services like transportation, yard work, meal delivery, etc. provided free by volunteers or through providers working at a discounted rate.  Such support networks have proven extremely effective at helping people age safely and comfortably in familiar surroundings.

Such relief for the busy kids of older parents — often stressed & overwhelmed by our own children, yet.  Villages bring peace of mind, to know there’s a whole network of “second string” caregivers nearby to shovel Mom’s driveway, or take a look at that glitch in Pop’s email.

Speaking of computers:  this “Village” thing is made for the internet! As technology improves, there’s almost no limit to the amount of connectivity we’ll be able to create. Today, we can lock doors, check thermostats, turn everything from stoves to alarms to webcams on & off from our phones. With technology, “assisted living” no longer has to mean displacement & loss of freedom.

Experts agree that getting older Americans at ease with new technologies is critical to aging in place — and the sooner the better!

Wiring our seniors is good for our peace of mind, and theirs too:  perhaps the biggest benefit for getting  older adults online is to combat depression & isolation with family photos, cat videos, childhood friends, and neighborhood chatter. The internet is a 27/7 interactive community that can engage, enlighten, support and provide ways that even a house-bound person can feel productive & useful.  Some cool statistics:


For Generation Xers, the best thing we can do for our parents  (and ourselves) is get them online.  This Wednesday, Falls of Schuykill Library & East Falls Village hope to make that task a little easier with local author Larry Benjamin’s fun, free, interactive presentation aimed just for seniors.

Join him at 2:00 pm February 6 where he’ll de-mystify Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram, answering questions and explaining all the exciting possibilities for East Falls Seniors on social media.

with Larry Benjamin
Saturday, February 6, 2016
2:00 PM – 3:30 PM
Falls of Schuylkill Library
Warden Drive & Midvale Avenue
East Falls, Philadelphia 19129
FREE, no registration required

PS for GenXers:  GACK! We’re next!

Good news is, the more we can embrace these assisted-living technologies now, the better we can fine-tune them for our own best interests later (our kids’ll thank us).





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