According to a 2014 survey conducted by the Pew Research Center, nearly 60 percent of seniors use the Internet, which is good news for their mental and emotional health. Through email and social media sites, the World Wide Web can keep older adults connected with friends and loved ones. As a source of information, the Internet stimulates the brain, sparking new neural connections that help seniors boost their memory and other cognitive skills. Here’s why the Internet is becoming an increasingly popular and valuable resource for seniors.
Gaining Emotional Benefits
Researchers at Michigan State University found surfing the Web can reduce instances of depression by more than 30 percent. Published in the Journals of Gerontology, the study analyzed data collected from more than 3,000 surveys of retirees over the age of 50. Only 9 percent of the Internet users showed signs of depression, compared to 16 percent of those who didn’t surf the Web.
If your loved one has been diagnosed with a condition such as dementia or Alzheimer’s, his or her online activity may need to be supervised closely, and a home caregiver can help. Seniors living with Alzheimer’s disease aren’t the only ones who can benefit from Alzheimer’s care. Lincoln families have much to gain as well, especially if they’re the ones currently providing care. Professional Alzheimer’s caregivers can watch over your loved one, giving you the chance to relax, focus on other responsibilities, and prevent burnout.
Finding Great Discounts
While using the Internet can be emotionally beneficial for seniors, it can also be a way to get discounts at their favorite stores. If older adults follow their preferred brands on social media, they’ll have access to coupons, discounts, and deals. It’s an easy way to save some money.
Stimulating Neural Pathways
Brain cells and neural synapses weaken as people age, but researchers have found learning new things can create new neural pathways. The brain’s plasticity allows it to modify its structure in response to stimuli throughout a person’s life. Whether an aging adult is playing games, taking an online class, or just searching for information, the Internet can enhance a senior’s cognitive abilities.
Using the Internet is just one of the issues aging adults must navigate in today’s modern world. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality at-home care. Trust Home Care Assistance to help your elderly loved one age in place safely and comfortably.
Learning New Skills
The Internet and its various social media platforms provide more than just a way to connect with friends and family members. Thanks to a huge variety of social media sites, seniors can also learn new skills. For example, seniors who love to craft should create Pinterest accounts, as this platform offers DIY tutorials on a range of subjects. Whether aging adults want to learn new knitting stitches or find tutorials for their next embroidery projects, Pinterest can help. It’s also a great source of inspiration for hairstyles, scrapbooking projects, and much more.
While some older adults resist the idea of using computers and other Internet-connected mobile devices, once they learn the basics, they’re likely to become enthusiastic users. The Pew survey found older adults who reported being skeptical about using the technology tended to use it regularly once they got started. The study also reported around 77 percent of seniors indicated they’d prefer to have some assistance when learning how to use the Internet. With that in mind, reach out to your parent and go over the basics of how to use the Web for fun, social activity, and learning.
A home caregiver can monitor your loved one’s online and physical safety when you need to take a break from your caregiving responsibilities. One of the most challenging tasks of helping an elderly relative age in place safely and comfortably is researching agencies that provide elder care. Lincoln families can turn to Home Care Assistance for reliable, high-quality in-home care for aging adults. We offer 24-hour live-in care for seniors who require extensive assistance, and we also offer respite care for family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties. If your loved one needs assistance with the challenges of aging, reach out to one of our knowledgeable, compassionate Care Managers today at (916) 226-3737.