5 ways over 50s can use the internet to stay connected

Posted in: Family Last updated: 22 Oct 2014

Once we’re over 50, for many reasons we may find ourselves faced with a changing social calendar as friends move away to be closer to other family members, children fly the nest and we may choose to reduce our working hours or give up all together. If we haven’t planned for such a pace change, then it might be easy to fall into the trap of spending “too much” time alone. Whilst “you time” is still important, this is your time to make some active choices about what you want to do – rather than going with the flow or being swept along by your children’s needs.

Whatever your version of “living life to the full” – you can take some simple steps that will help you to fill your calendar and boost your address book. So embrace the change, get spontaneous, stride out, re-connect with friends and get on with this stage of your life. The good news is that with the technology now at our fingertips, it’s easier than ever to keep in touch.

Although most of us are already using Facebook, Skype and so on to contact our families, there are many other ways to utilise the internet to enrich your life as you get older.

Learn something new

There are many places you can do courses or classes online, learning a new skill such as a language or instrument, or even brushing up your tech skills – and as well as the freedom to study at your own pace, online courses usually have forums or support groups, giving you the opportunity to connect with other people who are learning the same thing as you. The Open University is probably the best known of all the online education providers, but for courses that are a little bit less formal you could always look into the University of the Third Age – a group that encourages people to continue learning once they’ve left education and work. The U3A usually has local chapters that meet in person as well as the online component, so you could even take your learning offline and meet people face-to-face.

Get blogging

Is there something you’re particularly passionate about, or do you just want to share the details of your day to day life? Starting a blog – or “vlog”, where you record a video of yourself talking on your chosen topic and upload it online – can be a great way to become part of a community where people share thoughts and opinions on the things that matter to them. Start by reading or watching what others are doing in your chosen area, and once you’ve started creating your own content, try reaching out them by commenting to see if they’d be interested in what you have to say.

Use Meetup

Have you always wanted to join a book club or knitting circle but don’t know where to find one? Meetup is a site that lets you search groups in your local area – either by location, date or subject. You join the groups online and chat to members and RSVP to events digitally, but then get out and meet likeminded people at socials that are based around things you enjoy – anything from walking groups to whiskey tasting!

Take in a traveller

Obviously safety is a priority and you should never let anyone stay in your home if you don’t feel comfortable with the situation, but if you think it’s something you might like to do to make friends from around the world, setting up a profile on a site such as couchsurfing.org is a great place to start. Not only does the site hold weekly events for members in most cities – which is another way to get out and meet people in itself – but you have the option of hosting a traveller while they’re passing through your neck of the woods. You can exchange messages and look at their profile before taking the plunge – and if having someone stay in your house really doesn’t appeal to you, you can mark yourself as available to spend time with people in the area without actually hosting them – perfect for if they need a local tourguide on their travels.

Get advice on friendship

If you find it difficult to meet new people or have had trouble forming and maintaining friendships, there are a whole host of resources online that can give you the tools you need to make your friendships last. Thefriendshipblog.com is full of Q&As and advice from experts on making and keeping friends, as well as a forum where you can share your problems with others that may have gone through or be going through similar struggles.

The thing to remember is that there’s a whole world of people out there who are looking to make new friend and learn new things. With the internet bringing so much information and opportunity to our fingertips, there’s never been a better time to try and connect with people.

Note:Whilst we take care to ensure Hub content is accurate at the time of publication, individual circumstances can differ so please don’t rely on it when making financial decisions. OneFamily do not provide advice so it may be worth speaking to an independent financial advisor about your own circumstances.