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Social media use surges among senior citizens

Local senior centers say they are fighting to keep up with the demand for technology classes.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — A recent report from the Pew Research Center shows that while young adults (ages 18 to 29) are the most likely to use social media, the fastest growing group of adopters comes among those 65 and older. In October, 35 percent of people surveyed 65 and older said they use social media, a jump from just 2 percent 10 years ago.
Local senior centers say they are fighting to keep up with the demand for technology classes.
The most popular classes are introductory classes on computer and email use as well as how to use the iPhone.
Robert Garvey, a regular at the Anne Gordon Center for Active Adults in Raleigh, said he has learned the basics.

“I know a little bit on how to use a mouse. I know how to use one to navigate around. But for a long time I couldn’t tell you how to turn one on or off so I’ve learned how to do that," he said.

The Gordon Center offers nearly two dozen classes for seniors looking to become more technologically savvy.

“We offer classes that are a wide range starting with 'I don’t know how to turn my computer on' up to the more advanced classes including social media like Facebook, Pinterest and Skype,” said Jennifer Tabery, recreation facility and program supervisor.

For many of the students, the classes help them stay connected with loved ones.

Garvey uses the computer to keep track of his far-flung family members. “My grandsons are here," he said. "Well three of them are, and two of them are in Florida. My wife is in Indianapolis. This is kind of the way that we keep track of one another.”

It’s a possibility that wasn’t available 20 years ago that helps bridging the distance for people of all ages.


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