Nearly 60 percent of seniors use the Internet, according to a 2014 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, and a new study indicates that’s good news for their mental and emotional health. Through email and social media sites, the World Wide Web helps keep older adults connected with friends and loved ones. As a source of information, the Internet helps stimulate the brain, sparking new neural connections that help seniors improve memory and other cognitive skills.
As a leading provider of senior home care in Cincinnati, we agree with the Pew study and have provided a little more information about why the Internet is becoming an increasingly popular and valuable resource for seniors and older adults.
Researchers at Michigan State University found that surfing the Web can reduce instances of depression by more than 30 percent. Published in the Journal of Gerontology, the study analyzed data collected from more than 3,000 surveys of retirees over the age of 50. Only 9 percent of the Internet users showed signs of depression compared to 16 percent of those who didn’t surf the Net.
Stimulating Neural Pathways
Brain cells and neural synapses weaken as people age, but researchers have found that learning new things can help create new neural pathways. The brain’s plasticity allows it to modify its structure in response to stimuli throughout a person’s life. Whether playing games, taking an online class or just searching for information, the Internet can help improve a senior’s cognitive abilities.
While some older adults resist the idea of using computers and other Internet-connected mobile devices, once they learn the basics, they’re likely to become enthusiastic users. The Pew survey found that older adults who reported being skeptical about using the technology tend to use it regularly once they get started. The study also reported that around 77 percent of seniors indicated they’d prefer to have some assistance when learning how to use the Internet. That said, reach out to your aging parents and loved ones and go over the basics of how to use the internet.
For more information about senior care, health and wellness, contact Home Care Assistance of Cincinnati today. Offering flexible hourly and live-in home care in Cincinnati, we’re helping change the way the world ages. Request a free, no-obligation consultation today by calling 531-891-2273.