Technology Trends and Benefits for Seniors

More and more seniors are going online. In fact, more than half of American adults age 65 and older use the Internet or e-mail, according to the latest research from the Pew Internet & American Life Project. And while these adults are still less likely than all other age groups to use the Web, the latest data represent the first time that half of seniors are going online. After several years of very little growth among this group, these gains are significant.

Here’s what this cohort is doing online:

  • One-third of Internet users age 65 and older use social networking sites, such as Facebook, and 18 percent do so on a typical day.
  • E-mail use continues to be the bedrock of online communications for seniors; the latest statistics show that 86 percent of Internet users age 65 and older use email, with close to half doing so on a typical day.

Also, some 69 percent of seniors report that they have a mobile phone, up from 57 percent in May 2010. Even among those currently age 76 and older, 56 percent report owning a cell phone of some kind, up from 47 percent of this generation in 2010.

This is a good thing! E-mail, social media and cell phones may turn out to be the best thing since sliced bread for older adults.

Here’s why: Social connection is an important component of healthy aging and a contributor to longevity. Vision problems and mobility limitations often lead to isolation for older adults. Older adults become isolated, not because they want to withdraw but because they are unable to drive or otherwise get around.

This is where technology comes to the rescue. E-mail, Skype, Facebook and other technologies provide alternative ways for older adults to connect with their family and friends. And creative folks are developing simplified systems and applications so these connections can occur with a touch of a finger.

Check out the websites below to learn more about how technologies and related trends can improve the quality of life for older adults.

Aging in Place Technology Watch: http://www.ageinplacetech.com

LeadingAge: http://www.leadingage.org/CAST.aspx


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