Over three-quarters (76%) of Britons aged over 65 who are online are using social media according to the findings of a recent nationwide YouGov study.

Commissioned by stairlift manufacturer Stannah as part of its long-running Silver Census series, the study seeks to offer a snapshot into the often-overlooked 10 million over-65s which make up part of British society.

Results from the survey found that Facebook was the most popular social media platform used by over-65s, with three in five (61%) accessing the social network website, followed by one-third (32%) using video-sharing site YouTube and one in five (22%) using instant messaging service, WhatsApp, with just 1% using image messaging platform Snapchat.

One-fifth (19%) of those surveyed said that they spend between 16 to 30 minutes a day on social media, with one in ten (11%) spending more than an hour on social media sites in a typical day.

The most popular devices for older people to access social media are a personal computer or laptop, with more than two in five (44%), compared to one-third (34%) using a tablet and just under two in ten (18%) using a smartphone.

There were a number of reasons why over 65s use social media, one in ten (11%) said they use it to keep up-to-date on news and current affairs, and a similar number (9%), use it for entertainment – to play games or watch/read content.  However, the majority of respondents to the survey, almost two-thirds (61%), said they use social media to keep in touch with friends and family.

Commenting on the research, Patrick Stannah, Managing Director at Stannah Stairlifts, said: “It’s clear to see that the popularity of social media transcends the generations, with older people making the most of the technology available, especially to keep in touch with family and friends or update themselves with the latest news.  We know that the over 65s can be at risk of loneliness, so having other ways of keeping in touch with the people closest to them is very important.

“As this study shows, retired people are keeping up to speed with new technology, which can help to keep their minds active and encourage them to learn new skills. There’s no reason why older people can’t continue to keep ahead of the technology curve, benefitting from the positive experience that being part of social networks can offer.”

The research carried out towards the end of February questioned over one thousand adults aged 65 and over online, of which a total of 768 use social media.

Ran by fourth generation joint chairmen Alan and Brian Stannah and supported by the fifth generation of the family – Jon, Patrick, Alastair, Nick and Helen – the stairlift specialist manufactures a range lifts, operating in 40 countries with 12 subsidiaries overseas in countries including Holland, Italy and America.

The website for the company is HERE

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