There has been a common misconception that senior citizens have not been active with regard to technology devices and applications like email or social media to communicate. However, the truth is that seniors have been more involved with technology than ever in the past few years.
As more and more seniors integrate the Internet into their daily lives, digital communications are becoming the most efficient way to engage and inform. For quite a few years, aging adults have been discovering an entire new world through cell phones and apps by using social networking.
According to Pew Internet Research center study, over fifty percent of the U.S. seniors over 65 years old are on the web and one in every three use social networks to stay in touch with their families. In addition, 87 percent of senior citizens are using email, as well as search engines. The study also demonstrates that web users who are 74 and older have been the fastest growing group using social networking sites, which has quadrupled since 2008.
In fact, the Nielsen Company found that 88.6 percent of seniors primarily check email online. In addition, they found that the number of seniors who actively use the Internet has increased by over 55 percent in the last few years. In the past five years, the number went from more than 11.3 million users in 2004 to over 17.5 million in 2009 alone.
Seniors, particularly those who live in an assisted living environment with little opportunity to see family as often as they’d like, can experience a great deal of loneliness and isolation. Also, because they can become less mentally stimulated, they also suffer from mental degradation.
There are many positive mental and psychological effects that seniors receive from using social media and technology to stay connected and active. Seniors can use a number of technological devices and apps to keep mentally agile, feel less isolated and live better lives, such as:
1. Video chat is a wonderful option. Nothing bridges the gap like a face- to- face visit. Video chat is a great method for seniors to stay in touch with loved ones in ways that far surpass the telephone. The video aspect of services like Skype and Oovoo can provide a richer communication experience for all concerned. In fact, a video chat can feel very much like a personal visit that would otherwise be impractical. This is particularly true of seniors’ whose relatives span across the continents.
2. Genkvetch Social Networking is specially designed for golden agers, featuring news and health information, volunteer opportunities and current events. It is very easy to use and good for seniors who are learning to use the web.
3. The Online Games Websites for Seniors has a wide variety of mind, strategy, and simulation games that aid in enhancing mental agility. For example, crosswords, checkers and puzzles are classic games that enhance brain activity. Sudoku and Sports Simulation offer hours of entertainment that also increase mental ability. Attention and Hidden Objects are great for improving concentration.
4. ThirdAge focuses upon retirement and aging with interactive features including profiles, chat rooms, newsletters, discussion boards, videos, groups, classes, articles, polls, games and horoscopes.
5. Multiply allows seniors to express themselves through their own websites with a blog, photos, cards, calendars and email. The integrated tools make it easy to share content to keep connected to loved ones and friends.
There is an amazing amount of success in regards to how seniors view technology. When the term “tech savvy seniors” is mentioned, assisted living Birmingham AL should come to mind. In focus groups conducted by Birmingham college researchers and sociologist, residents who reside in assisted living facilities and retirement communities expressed how excited they are to learn how to compose emails, interact with children and grandchildren on Facebook, and even create their own blogs. This new ability has given them a sense of pride and empowered them to seek even more independence.
The flexibility of using a device like an iPad makes it easier for the elderly to stay in touch, learn new things, play games and enjoy many forms of entertainment. Because they can be carried around anywhere they are easier to use and operate. Families have been adjusting to this new technological phenomenon for a number of years through having Facebook pages, Twitter feeds and other social networks.
Marketers forecast that by 2015, there are expected to be more than 26 million senior web users in the U.S. alone. Using technology to stay in touch also enhances their overall well being and combats some of the issues that many aging adults face, particularly when living in environments away from family, such as assisted living facilities.
Jamica Bell is an advocate for technology education for senior citizens. Chateau Vestavia is a facility committed to providing assisted living Birmingham AL seniors a nurturing caring place they can call home. They provide the options of assisted living, independent living, and memory care, as well as a host of amenities for seniors to enjoy on a daily basis.