An article published in the most recent Journal of Aging and Health reports that when older people are given training in the use of the Internet and social networks (such as Facebook), it helps support their social connectedness and contributes positively to their wellbeing.
The research was carried out by the AGES 2.0 Project in Exeter, England, which has been working with groups of elderly people living either in nursing homes or their own homes, and these groups are located in both Spain and the UK. AGES 2.0 uses a training program developed at the University of Exeter specifically for this purpose.
When compared with a control group (who received no training), users showed significant cognitive improvement, as well as increased social activity, improved self-competence, and a maintained personal identity.
Engaging online may be unfamiliar territory for some seniors, but the sense of connection that it brings for many Canadians (young and old) is very much real and could be key to helping your parents feel more engaged and find more happiness in their everyday lives.
By Lola Augustine Brown