Many people view the internet and social media platforms as entertainment for younger generations. While this may have been true in the early phases of the computer revolution, a shift is occurring and many older adults are hopping on the bandwagon. At home care professionals in Cincinnati point out, the truth is that today’s seniors have arrived online in a big way.
Recent studies show that more than 80% of seniors use email and regularly search the internet. In the last five years alone, the number of seniors using the internet in the U.S. has increased by more than 50% — from 11 million to more than 17 million regular users. While seniors still lag behind other age groups, the fact remains that seniors regularly go online for such things as health information, news, and shopping.
The primary benefit of the internet and social media for older adults is the ability to stay connected with others and avoid isolation. The difficulty of getting out of the house to make social connections can be greatly diminished by using online resources. The internet, along with social media such as Facebook and e-mail, allows older adults to communicate with others and remain active and entertained, even when physical limitations make traveling and face-to-face encounters impractical.
Having access to the internet can also boost brain activity, thus helping combat cognitive decline. There are many websites dedicated to strengthening the mind through online crossword puzzles, word games such as Boggle or Scrabble, memory challenges, and many more.
The internet has become extremely beneficial in the lives of a growing number of seniors, giving the gifts of interaction and education that we may not be able to receive any other way. If you are interested in exploring the internet, seek help from loved ones, in-home caregivers, and senior centers.