• The Internet for Seniors and the Spectacular Psychological Benefits

    The Internet for Seniors and the Spectacular Psychological Benefits

While puzzles and diet are renowned as ways for you to stay sharp as you age, according to a recent study, the internet also helps seniors psychologically. This study found that seniors who used the internet regularly in retirement scored substantially higher on cognitive tests.

Benefits of the Internet for Seniors

What is the Challenge?

One of the greatest challenges to seniors living on their own is the problem of isolation and loneliness. With nearly 27% of seniors living by themselves, social isolation is both common and dangerous. Although living alone doesn’t inevitably lead to loneliness, the two often go hand in hand. In fact, as of June 2020, 56% of older adults reported feeling isolated. That’s more than double the number of seniors reporting feelings of isolation in 2018. 

Why is the Internet Good for Seniors?

We will be upfront, science still doesn’t completely understand this connection. However, the prevailing theory is that it has to do with access to social networks. Through the internet and specifically social media, seniors are more engaged with people when they are online regularly. This is essential because many seniors may have difficulty meeting people in person and the internet gives seniors the freedom to be social without leaving their homes. 

Loneliness and social isolation are major problems for seniors, especially after the events of 2020. Loneliness increases the risk of developing depression and negative health concerns. However, seniors who use the internet regularly were linked with a notable reduction in their rate of cognitive decline. The association being more pronounced among women. On average, retirees who used the internet regularly could recall more words on a cognitive test.

Successful Aging

Successful aging means maintaining an independent, positive, healthy, and meaningful quality of life. This is a constant challenge for seniors, yet essential for overall wellness. Cognitive function and social engagement combined with physical function are the three primary components of successful aging. Socialization provides opportunities for seniors to deal with stress, receive social support, and connect with peers.

Research suggests that social engagement may be more important to seniors than physical health as loneliness and isolation can affect physical health. Research finds socializing is associated with lower levels of anxiety and depression. 

Since the internet is a great way for those suffering from debilitating mobility issues to connect with others, it is a vital tool for the psychological wellness of older adults. Yahoo Messenger and Skype are the two most popular free chat services that seniors take advantage of.

Video conferencing is preferred. It enables them to see and talk to their friends and family. Facebook is the most popular social networking platform. From here seniors share photos, chat online, play games, and search for long-lost friends. In this way, the internet helps promote psychological well-being in seniors. 

Looking for another way to help alleviate the stress of isolation? Learn what your decisions are with our FREE eBook, Moving to a Senior Living Community: Make Decisions Your Way