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Can using Facebook mean living longer?

Millennials across the globe get plenty of flak for their obsession with Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and the wide scope of social networks developed through a tiny digital screen.

But social media does have its benefits, particularly for an unlikely user population: senior adults.

As reported in a recent New York Times article, a paper published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) journal found that using Facebook can decrease mortality among senior adults. The social platform’s natural effects, including interaction with others, social engagement and a sense of belonging, all mirror the benefits of face-to-face social engagement long known to increase longevity in senior adults.

“We find that people with more friends online are less likely to die than their disconnected counterparts,” the paper said.

A press release from the University of California, San Diego, where the study was conducted, further stated, “The research confirms what scientists have known for a long time about the offline world: People who have stronger social networks live longer.”

Joann Wenske, a Parkway Place resident since 2014, actively uses Facebook and currently has 64 friends on her profile.

“I do a lot on the computer,” Wenske said with a sheepish grin.

Each Buckner senior living community offers a packed calendar of life-enriching activities to help senior adults connect with one another through shared passions and experiences. However, in today’s ever-evolving digital world, it helps for senior adults to continue the social engagement past scheduled interaction through avenues like social media.

For senior adults looking to grow their online social network, follow this quick and easy guide to get connected. 

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