My dad needs an interesting hobby to break the boredom he sometimes feels at his Assisted Living community. Any suggestions? -Dorothy, Plainview, NY
You’ve heard the saying, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”? Good news. In Senior Living, it often doesn’t apply. One activity that is all the rage throughout Assisted Living communities today is the use of email and the Internet. If you’re thinking, “My dad wouldn’t touch a computer, let alone use one” — Dorothy, it’s time to think again.
While it may sound counterintuitive, the fact is that seniors are among the fastest growing groups of individuals today actively using the Internet. Email is a wonderful, efficient way for seniors to keep in touch with their families, and vice-versa. They’re not just sharing idle chitchat either. Studies show that the content of these emails are quite detailed and emotional. Email has not only become a key communication tool, but also a channel for expressing vital feelings between seniors and their loved ones. But hang onto your mouse! It goes beyond email. Social networking sites like Facebook, You Tube and even Twitter are reporting dramatic increases in older users. Why? Because according to the findings of a recent study, the Internet allows seniors to feel more integrated with contemporary society, and it helps them fight against the isolation that increases with age.
The figures back this up. The number of U.S. seniors actively using the Internet has increased by more than 55%, from 11.3 million in 2004 to 17.5 million in 2009.* If your dad isn’t currently “connected,” Dorothy, it’s time he “plugged in.” Almost 20 million seniors can’t be wrong.
* Source: McKnight’s Long Term Care News; 7/10; Vol. 31; No. 7