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Study: More adults age 50 and up using Facebook, Twitter

ORLANDO, Fla. - Ruth Roseboom checks her Facebook page at least once a day. The 78-year-old grandmother from Celebration, Fla., has 40 Facebook friends and likes to see what they are up to on any given time.

Roseboom is part of a growing number of adults logging onto social networks such as Facebook to stay connected, according to a study released Friday by the Pew Research Center's Internet and America Life Project.

In fact, for adults 50 to 64 years old, use of social networking sites such as Twitter have jumped by 88 percent in the past year, the study found. For those 65 and older, it has doubled.

The younger generation remains the biggest users of Facebook and other sites. But the report shows that seniors are currently the fastest-growing group.

For the study, a survey was conducted of 695 adults who were 50 to 64 and 518 adults who were 65 and older.

The Pew Center points to several factors that contribute to why older adults are logging on to social networks now:

It helps bridge the "generation gap." The sites bring people of all ages together in one space.

More social network users are more likely to reconnect with people from their past. These reconnections can be powerful support when people are entering another phase of their life, such as retirement or a new career.

Older adults are more likely to be living with chronic diseases, and those with diseases are more apt to seek support online.

- McClatchy News Service

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