Use of the Internet, smartphones and other communication technology is increasing among retirees, and many active senior living communities are encouraging that practice.
A Pew Research Center’s 2017 report, “Tech Adoption Climbs Among Older Adults,” featured these survey results:
- Two-thirds of seniors 65 and older use the Internet.
- Four in 10 own smartphones.
- A third use social media.
- A third own tablet computers.
- A fifth own e-readers.
We recognized this growing interest in technology among seniors at Country Meadows Retirement Communities a number of years ago. That’s why our residents have access to free WiFi, whether they live in one of our retirement apartments in a senior independent living community or in an assisted living/personal care home. Those who don’t have their own computers may use the computer center, a feature of each of our senior living communities.
Seniors acknowledge challenges of using current technology
The Pew report also confirms generational obstacles to today’s technology. A third of the senior Internet users say they have little confidence in using electronic devices, while half of all seniors agree that “when I get a new electronic device, I usually need someone else to set it up or show me how to use it.”
If residents at any of our communities show interest, their activities committee will plan a computer class for them. At some campuses, students from local schools have volunteered to instruct residents as part of an intergenerational activity. And fortunately, our residents are always willing to help a neighbor in need, and nearby family members are known to stop by with tech support for senior loved ones.
Our staff also use digital technology to assist residents. For example, co-worker Angie Nowicki says, “I enjoy using the iPad to help residents connect with a family member. We also use Google Earth to look up where they lived.”
Computer use by seniors offers wellness benefits
There’s actually a wellness benefit to computer use by seniors. AARP reports that Internet use by older Americans helps meet their active senior living needs in the areas of personal fulfillment, health preservation and social connections.
- Personal fulfillment – Technology use helps seniors learn new information, shop online, play music and games, and research family genealogy.
- Health preservation – Studies show that online activity can help seniors sharpen memory and decision-making skills, as well as reduce depression.
- Social connections – Email and social media let seniors keep in touch with family and friends.
However, we are careful to warn seniors who use email and the Internet that scammers consider them easy targets. Scammers are usually perceived as targeting seniors in person or by phone, but they use email and the Internet as well. Seniors who show signs of dementia are most at risk, but even cautious retirees can become victims if they let down their guard. Please see our blog post on “seven ways for seniors to protect themselves from being scammed.”
We invite you to contact us for information on our senior communities or to schedule a tour to see firsthand our wide array of services. If you’re considering retirement at a senior independent living community, or are looking for an assisted living/personal care home or memory support services, visit one or more of our retirement home communities, where you will find residents with full lives in a family-oriented, caring environment. Country Meadows has 10 retirement communities in Pennsylvania as well as a Maryland retirement home.