Grandparents who suddenly became internet stars


They are called the “grandfluencers” generation, people over the age of 60 who can create their own videos, perform in front of cameras and are followed by millions on social media.

Mr. Robert Reeves, 78 years old, in the US spends his days relaxing by the pool and sunshine. Meanwhile, the friends he talked to talked about videos he planned to post on social media, where the group has millions of followers.

Mr. Reeves and three old friends founded the channel “Old Gays” in December 2020, specializing in posting videos about fashion and lifestyle. The group currently has 7.1 million followers on TikTok and several hundred thousand on Instagram. Including many celebrities such as Rihanna, Jessica Alba, Rosie O’Donnell, Drew Barrymore and Lance Bass also clicked the follow button.

Like other celebrities, the group of 4 uncles has their own management company. At 10:30 a.m. each day, the group will meet, discuss content, practice and shoot videos. Then edited and posted on social networks. Although they are old, they still believe that their personality and lifestyle will bring many positive meanings to life.

“We treat each other like family and love our job,” said Jessay Martin, 68, a member of the team.

Group of four “uncle” Old Gays constantly share funny videos on social networks. Image: Screen capture

According to US census data, by 2030, this country will have more elderly people than young people, with more than 70 million people over 65 years old. As the Pew Research Center points out, most older Americans live alone or with a partner. A recent AARP survey found that 86% of people over the age of 65 would rather have care at home than a nursing home.

If they stay at home, they still face an increased risk of loneliness and depression, even if they have money to hire carers. But instead of relying on their children or hiring a maid, why don’t the elderly keep company and take care of each other?

One day in mid-May at the Retirement House nursing home, there were two recording sessions taking place. In the kitchen, Mrs. Chuck Lacey, 70 years old and Mr. Jerry Boyd, 76 years old are acting out scenes of eating fruit, tasting food in front of the camera and exchanging sweet words. In the backyard, 81-year-old Patti Yulishn performed a rap, which was translated by a young person for popular slang.

These activities are far from what many people still think of dreary nursing homes, where the elderly are isolated.

“Many people think that the elderly are often unhappy because they have lost all their friends and loved ones and have no one left to share their lives with. But now we live very differently. People have many beautiful and preserved memories thanks to them. videos on social media,” said 72-year-old Reatha Gray.

Adi Azran, 27, and Brandon Chase, 25 always assist with scripting, shooting and video editing for seniors in nursing homes.

“My grandparents both live in Israel. I never had a lot of opportunities to talk to them. Thanks to the grandparents at the nursing home, the void in my heart was filled,” Azran said, adding that every day must travel long distances to get to work.

Mr. Chuck Lacey, Mr. Jerry Boyd and Mrs. Gaylynn Baker (from left) at the Retirement House nursing home.  Photo: Magdalena Wosinska for The New York Times

Mr. Chuck Lacey, Mr. Jerry Boyd and Mrs. Gaylynn Baker (from left) at the Retirement House nursing home. Image: Magdalena Wosinska for The New York Times

According to statistics, there are more than one million elderly people living in nursing homes in the United States. Many of them are very famous on social networks.

“At first it was just fun videos. But I gradually found great joy,” said Lou Scott, 78 years old, about the opportunity that brought him to social networks.

At that time, he happened to be invited to record for a famous account on social networks. A month later, he posted the first video on his personal page and received thousands of likes and comments. Many people expressed their admiration and talked about wanting to be like him when they get old.

Gaylynn Baker, 85, hopes to spread the spirit of humanity and joy through videos recorded at the Retirement House nursing home. “I started acting at the age of 19, when I moved from a small town in Texas to New York. 65 years later, I am in front of the camera again. This could be the best movie of my life, I will do anything. the best way,” she said.

As for the four old men of the Old Gays group, they are also full of positive energy. “Before, I didn’t think I would live past 70, when many of my friends my age passed away. But I can’t imagine I’m still here,” said Mr. Reeves and shared his pride in transmitting positive energy to him. LGBT community.

Every day, Mr. Reeves and his friends still chat by the pool, shoot stylish videos and share them on social media. They admit not to care or pay attention to the laws of old age because they want to live the rest of their lives meaningfully.

Minh Phuong (According to Nytimes)

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