While some seniors might feel that adapting to all of the latest trends of the internet and technology is unnecessary, the fact of the matter is there has never been a better time in life to reap the rewards of being computer savvy. Overall, internet usage among the elderly has rapidly increased over the years, including 43 percent of those aged 65 or older being actively involved in social media networks such as Facebook. Researchers have also focused on how getting seniors acquainted with the internet can have several physical and mental health benefits. For all of the elderly people who do not feel the need to conform to the 21st century way of communication, here are a few reasons why engaging in a little internet usage here and there can boost your overall quality of life.
Fulfillment and independence
One of the obvious reasons to become familiar with all of the innovative technology produced year after year is possessing the ability to obtain massive amounts of information, entertainment and social interaction, all available at your finger tips. The American Association of Retired Persons has reported that seniors who keep up to date with the internet can produce a positive impact on key areas of life, including:
- personal fulfillment
- health preservation
- social connectedness
- functional capability
- caregiver support
Personal fulfillment can arise in a number of ways, but no one can argue how using the internet has revolutionized the workplace. According to the United States Census Bureau, there are more than 6.7 million seniors aged 65 or older who are currently working, a number that is expected to increase to 11.1 million by the year 2018. For those members of the elderly still employed to support themselves, imagine being able to provide all of your essential job duties over the computer, and still get paid? Well, there is no need to daydream, because current technology allows working from home to be a common practice in today's society, allowing seniors to continue to independently support themselves while avoiding the drag of commuting to and from the office.
Stimulate the mind and body
If you are a senior and have yet to experience partaking in a video or computer game, you are not only missing out on entertainment, but an opportunity to enhance your mental health as well. Researchers have been exploring how teaching elderly individuals how to play online activities can boost the brain and increase cognitive longevity. Scientists from Poland discovered that all of their subjects between the ages of 65 and 75 years of age, completing a series of several computer games was able to improve memory, expand attention and increase sequencing abilities. Furthermore, video game systems have also proven to promote participation of physical activity with seniors due to a number of available virtual recreation programs that teach users how to dance or do yoga, two extremely beneficial forms of exercise for the elderly.
For many seniors, life tends to be a series of extended episodes of isolation, primarily due to being separated with friends and family by long distances. Using email and social networking platforms are a great way to easily stay in touch with those who are the closest to you, and all it takes to speak with someone face to face is a computer, camera and internet access.
Sometimes social isolation provokes feelings of loneliness and despair, another emotional aspect that the internet has helped seniors conquer. Researchers from Michigan State University have reported that elderly individuals who spend occasional time online can drastically reduce symptoms of depression, just another example of the vast benefits of new-age technology.