Archive for the ‘technology’ Category

Elderly Internet and Social Media Use – Helping Seniors Stay Happy and Connected

Thursday, August 15th, 2013

More people are using the internet every day and many of these people are now using social networking sites regularly. While younger adults and teenagers are more likely to use social media than older adults, the growth in social media use for older internet users has skyrocketed in recent years. According to PewInternet, People ages 65 and older have roughly tripled their presence on social networking sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, in the last four years. In 2009 only 13% were using social networking sites but now 43% are connecting with friends and family on social media.

Elderly adults’ increased internet and social media use has led to many interesting studies. Since many elderly adults are increasingly isolated and struggle with depression and loneliness, social media and internet use can help them stay connected to their friends and family. A study published by Shelia Cotton, a sociologist at the University of Alabama-Birmingham, found that older adults who were active on the internet experienced a 30% decrease of depressive symptoms. At a panel at last year’s Annual Scientific Meeting on Aging, Dr. Laura Carstensen, the director of Stanford University’s Center on Longevity, explained how these social networking sites are proving to be an entrance into technology for older adults. They can instantly be connected with friends and family without being overwhelmed by the sheer size of the internet. We hope more studies like these continue to come out and that social media continues to enrich and extend the lives and happiness of older adults.

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Getting Wii-fitter may improve balance and decrease falls

Wednesday, December 1st, 2010

Wii Bowling

Many people embraced Nintendo’s Wii and “exergames” like Wii Fit with the hopes that it would get them off the couch and provide a fun way to stay in shape. However, as Gretchen Reynolds reports in today’s New York Times, researchers are finding that the workouts just aren’t intense enough to provide real benefits to younger people. However, a few studies are starting to indicate that the elderly can improve their physical fitness through these games.

Two studies cited in the Times article found that elderly participants saw significant improvements in balance using the Wii Fit’s exercises as well as fun games like Wii Bowling. Improving balance is important to preventing falls, which are the leading cause of injury-related deaths among the elderly.

With the holidays coming, it makes you think if maybe this year, it’s time to give Junior a good book or sweater and reserve the game console for grandma and grandpa.

(photo by marioanima via Flickr)

Robot Teddy Bears Help Seniors

Wednesday, October 13th, 2010

To deal with an aging population, Japan has been working towards having robots help take care of the growing numbers of seniors. Early efforts haven’t been very successful because older people are apparently put off by somewhat human-looking machines with robotic voices. That’s why Fujitsu, the large Japanese technology company, has taken a different approach. The company has developed a robotic teddy bear that understands with whom it’s interacting and communicates through a series of gestures. A voice synthesizer uses the voice of a little boy.

More details and a video are available on Wired.com.

Virtual Senior Center Keeps Homebound Seniors Connected

Monday, August 30th, 2010

Blogger Jane Gross reported in the New York Times recently about a pilot “virtual senior center” that New York City’s Department of Aging is setting up to aid homebound elderly people. The project, which is backed by Microsoft, lets seniors easily interact with other seniors, doctors and even participate in religious services using computers with large touchscreen monitors and webcams.

There are only twelve people in the initial project, but some early results are very heartening. Gross reports on one 86-year-old gentleman:

But it’s better, much better, than watching TV alone in one’s apartment. “I have been brought back into the world of now,” Mr. Greidinger wrote to me.

While there are clearly some kinks in the system, other news sites have reported that there’s been a lot of interest in launching similar projects in other parts of the United States and even internationally.

Read the article: Being There, Without Leaving Home

Dramatic increase in social network usage among older adults

Friday, August 27th, 2010

Nearly half of adults aged 50-64 and over a quarter of those aged 65+ are using social networking tools such as Facebook and Twitter, according to a study just released by Pew Internet entitled Older Adults and Social Media.

For the 50-64 crowd, usage grew 88% over the past year and 100% for people 65+ compared to only 13% for users aged 18-29, though to be fair, that’s because the younger ones had adopted social media earlier.

Facebook is a great way of keeping in touch with old friends and new and Twitter is a good way to keep up on all your interests. That’s why you can find LifeStation on both of these services:

Visit LifeStation on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

LifeStation on Facebook

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

LifeStation on FacebookFacebook is just for college kids and twenty-somethings, right? Wrong. Facebook, the massive social network, has proven to be incredibly popular among people of all ages. In fact, over 18 million Facebook users in the US are 45 or over. And about a year ago, Facebook reported that women over 55 were its fastest growing segment.

Facebook has proven to be a great place to reconnect with old friends that you haven’t seen since childhood. It’s also a good place to interact with the companies that you like. And that’s why LifeStation is on Facebook. Visit our Facebook page and click the Like button. You’ll be able to read the latest news, send us your questions and comments. Most importantly, you’ll be able to share your medical alert experiences with other LifeStation customers.

Visit LifeStation on Facebook.