Both of my parents love their computers. They use e-mail, the web, or simply pen their thoughts. My mother is a cracker-jack e-mail user, communicating with various political, church, and personal lists. My father, I think, would really enjoy a smart phone because of the easy access to resources, though he would not like to pay the monthly fee.
If they stay away from their computers for a few days while attending to their many other activities, they feel rusty when they return to the computer. Then the lack of a few days’ practice slows them down.
My mom is more active on the computer than my dad, but he a regular checker of online newspapers, and he probably does more writing. When they forget something or have difficulty they tend to attribute this to their age, when in reality it is a problem for almost everyone over 35 who uses a computer. The pace of technology change — new programs, upgrades, keeping virus definitions up to date, and occasional new equipment, not counting the daily changes on the web — is daunting. But there is no doubt in my mind that technology is great for the two of them.
For me, helping to troubleshoot over the phone is difficult, and I am delighted that they found someone who can help them with technical details of their computer and wireless. Though I don’t always agree with everything this person does to their computer and wireless, I am so glad he is able to assist them.
Last week I read about a UCLA School of Health Sciences study, funded by the National Institute on Aging, that suggests that for seniors, working on computers “…may help to stimulate and possibly improve brain functioning.” The study also concluded that technology use is a great way to bridge the generation gap between grandparents and their grandchildren, but we have long known this and almost any grandparent or grandchild can tell you so.
The UCLA study used a small group of 24 volunteers between the age of 55 and 78. (Hummm, this means a person my age is classified as “older” in this research study, so there must be plenty of people my age who do not use the computer and can use the stimulation.) All of the people in the group were similar in terms of age and economic level.
Another summary of the research explains how the MRI’s scans monitored the subjects’ brains as they completed various tasks on the computer. The scans showed that increased blood flowed into (around?) the brain while people were doing computer tasks, especially when they used the Internet.
- Technology Marketing Corporation (TMC)
Internet Decreases Depression in Senior Citizens
- Phoenix Center @ Columbia University — Report
Internet Use and Depression Among the Elderly
- Ezine Site — Memory Strategies for Senior Citizens
What Technology today tells Us
- Cornell University Ergonomics Lab
Computer Use by Senior Citizens