A year in isolation has driven many older adults to learn and embrace technology and social media to stay connected with friends and family when in-person gathering was not possible. Even now as the world begins to re-open, middle-aged and older adults have increasingly shifted away from the carefully curated images on Facebook and Instagram to a more realistic slice of life that TikTok offers.
According to a recent AARP article, in February 2020, 19.4 percent of TikTok users were 40 to 50 years old or older – 37.2 percent of users were between 10 and 19, making middle aged and older adults a significant proportion of users.
Older celebrities are also giving TikTok a whirl and people of all ages are enjoying the fun of seeing famous and regular people in their home environments offering a bit of entertainment. When the mainstream media becomes overwhelming, and there is no energy left for baking, organizing or puzzles, TikTok is a welcome relief from worry and anxiety.
Whether seniors are dancing with their grandkids, performing a skit, telling a joke, or doing a magic trick, fans are eating up these glimpses into the lives of elderly people they would otherwise never know. User @grandma_droniak is 91 years old and has more than 1.5 million followers who love to watch her videos of dancing and sharing everyday moments.
Contributors to TikTok and their followers develop a sense of community which for many people, and especially those who live alone, has been missing over the past year. Although people will hopefully soon return to workplaces, schools, or in-person social activities, many elderly adults will continue to live in relative isolation. Social media is one way they can stay connected with others and make a contribution – even if it’s just a bit of comedic relief from the everyday strains and stresses of daily life.