Monday, February 11, 2013

Social Media—connecting Senior Facility elderly residents and their families

By Bob Gregory

Social Media is one of the fastest growing segments of the internet and in 2012 it accounted for 25% of all on-line time!  Most facilities understand the importance of Social Media to promote their facility to potential residents and their families, but don’t overlook the value of Social Media for your current residents.  There are two different uses for Social Media at Senior Facilities and both require different strategies.  These two strategies overlap significantly and are often mistakenly treated as one strategy.  In this post, I’m going to discuss the use of Social Media to connect your current residents with their families.  If you would like to learn about using Social Media to promote your facility, please visit  to learn about our services.

The giant in Social Media is Facebook boosting over 1 billion users!  Over 700 billion minutes are spent on Facebook every month and one of the most noted activities is looking at photos and videos posted by friends.  Users of Facebook always site it is a great way to stay in touch with friends and family that are not in the same city or whose lives take them in different circles.  Thus the opportunity for your Senior Facility to help your residents and their families stay in touch!

If your facility does not have a Facebook page, you need to start one!  If you have a Facebook page, here are a few tips to keep your residents’ families connected:

Senior Facility Finder Facebook
  1. We’ve all heard the old saying “A picture is worth a thousand words” and we all know it’s true.  Everyone likes to look at pictures and it is especially true of families that are apart.  Your first order of business is to post pictures of your residents.  Candid shots are great, especially if the resident is participating in activities and enjoying themselves.  Be sure to include all residents, even if they are camera shy.  Try and coordinate photos with the major activities you list on your calendar and post them as soon after the event as possible.  Make sure you are consistent with your posts as this will keep “friends” checking back often.

  1. Videos can be a bit more difficult for some, but even short clips from a cell phone can be a great way to enhance the story you are trying to tell when a still shot just won’t do.  Videos of dancing, singing and playing musical instruments are great to show action.  Be sure and record clips of guest speakers or entertainers—this shows the families you are providing great activities.

  1. Announcements are also great to post.  Make sure marriage anniversaries and anniversaries of residency are posted and certainly do not forget birthdays!  You will also want to post announcements of upcoming events and outings that families are invited to attend.

  1. Short stories are also good to share.  Whether you have a blog or not, be sure an
    d post stories about residents that they would like to share as well as stories about staff and events that have occurred. 

  1. Ask families for content.  Create a section of your Facebook page and devote it to photographs of residents when they were younger.  This can become a virtual on-line scrapbook for residents and their families to enjoy.  Keep in mind that the intent is to connect and not embarrass!  Encourage family members to comment on posts and make it a point to share them with the residents.  Post information about your residents prior work lives and professions should they wish to share—get permission on this one so as not to upset anyone.

These are a few of the more important items to have on your Facebook page but there are many others.  Make sure you are consistent and diligent as that’s what keeps people interested and coming back.  Start a program to assure family members know you have a Facebook page and that it is important they stay connected.  Be mindful of residents’ privacy and be sure to be tasteful in all your posts.  Safety is always a concern so be sure details of outings do not create a safety concern.  Make sure you include your residents as they should be the “star” of your page—they are the ones the family members come to see!  Also, show your residents your updates on the Facebook page so they will know what their families are viewing.

For families that find they need an Assisted Living Facility, Nursing Home or any other type of Senior Facility, I hope they will consider  And if you would like to learn about using Social Media to promote your facility, please visit   to learn about our services.
If you would like to contribute your thoughts and ideas, please leave them in our comment section. We want to hear them. Helping people care for themselves or their loved ones is what we care about. 

We look forward to reading yours.

Bob Gregory is an advocate for Seniors and is one of the founders of At, we are dedicated to helping families get the Elder Care help they need without having to provide their personal information! If find you need an assisted living facility or other type of senior facility, please consider

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