Self-absorption training for seniors sorely needed

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Gary Tetz
Gary Tetz

Now that they've succeeded in disrupting and distracting the lives of children, adolescents, Generations W, X, Y and Z and the boomers, our social media overlords have their sights set on enslaving the planet's seniors. 

After being given touch-screen computers and taught how to use services such as Facebook, a group of 60- to 95-year-old study participants in the United Kingdom “experienced multiple cognitive and emotional benefits,” McKnight's reports

Personally, I don't find those results particularly surprising. Social media makes everyone more cognizant — of things that don't matter. I know a lot more than I used to about people's eating habits, vacations, political beliefs and daily whereabouts. I enjoy an exceedingly high awareness of everything that's unimportant, and am delighted that with proper instruction, seniors are finally going to be able to experience that, too.

In what is being called a “landmark” study, this training was also reported to create in the elderly “a greater sense of self-competence and self-identity.” Again, those results don't seem that startling. We create our social media identities by ourselves, for ourselves. Social media is all about Me. The Cult of Me. The Power and Glory of Me, Me, Me. Of course our self-identity grows once we spend hours of every day massaging our own images on Facebook.

What this research really reveals is the urgent need to address the greatest weakness of the current generation of seniors — a troubling deficiency of selfishness and ego. They didn't grow up talking about themselves, promoting themselves, obsessing about themselves. But you know this — you care for them. I know this — I've traveled to the World War II Memorial with them.

This study proves that by being trained in social media, our seniors can also learn badly needed self-absorption skills, which they're sadly lacking on their own. With just a few selfies and naval-staring status updates a day, they'll soon be cured.



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Things I Think

Things I Think is written by longtime industry columnist Gary Tetz, who resides in Portland, OR. Since his debut with at the end of a previous century, he has continued to amuse, inform and sometimes befuddle long-term care readers worldwide.