With technology advancing so quickly in the past few years, sometimes it can be difficult for older adults to feel like they’re keeping up with the pace. However, a recent study from Pew Research Center suggests that more and more adults over the age of 65 are using technology to stay connected with each passing day. In fact, 60 percent of seniors go online on a regular basis, and almost 80 percent of these seniors now have cell phones.
Although older adults have historically been slower to adopt and adapt to new technology, Pew research also reveals that the 71 percent of seniors who are spending time online are doing so daily, and 34 percent of those online are using social media. In fact, the internet has been an important element in reducing feelings of loneliness, social isolation and depression.
Seniors and Technology: Staying Connected and Engaged in Life
Today, computers, tablets and cell phones for seniors make it easier than ever for them to stay connected and engaged in the world around them. However, seniors do tend to utilize technology differently than the younger generation. They use their cell phones more for basic communication purposes, while younger adults use them more for multimedia purposes that relieve boredom. Also, many younger adults have started to abandon Facebook for other social media platforms like Instagram or Snapchat, but seniors are finding Facebook quite useful for staying connected to family and friends who do not live nearby. In fact, a study in 2014 revealed that 56 percent of older adults online are using Facebook, up from 45 percent the year before.
Online community groups offer an additional way for seniors to stay connected to those who share similar interests or health conditions. These groups range in topics from entertainment to discuss favorite books, movies or television shows, hobby and crafting groups, to health-related groups where seniors can share their experiences and challenges with common issues affecting their daily lives.
Additionally, seniors are also turning to the internet more often to get news. Of course, many still read the newspaper or watch the nightly news on TV, but online news offers a more immediate way to get timely coverage about what’s going on in the world.
Finally, technology for seniors also provides some fun! There are countless interactive games that can be played on computers, tablets and smartphones, and while some offer simply mindless ways to pass some time, others actually provide an interactive way to improve cognition and overall brain health. As an added bonus, many of these games can be played with others online, allowing for some friendly competition and social engagement. Check out the AARP’s website for some great games that involve critical thinking and strategy skills that can boost memory.
The stereotypes about seniors and technology, in regards to them being “afraid” of it or too stubborn to give it a try, are slowly starting to fade. Many senior living communities and assisted living communities utilize technology in a variety of ways. They also sometimes offer classes and workshops to residents to help them realize all the ways technology can help them stay connected to those both near and far.