Can Facebook help the elderly prevent memory loss?

People of every age are using Facebook these days to stay in touch with friends old and new. According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, as of May 2010, one in four adults aged 65 and older are using social networking sites. Nearly a year later, that number is likely much closer to one in three.

We’ve heard all the reasons why you might not want to connect online, but a recent study points to a very good reason why you should: Facebook and other Internet activities stimulates memory and attention span. The study by the Italian Association of Psychogeriatrics gave laptops and Internet instruction to residents of two senior facilities. According to the site, All Facebook:

Those folks who got the knack of it and were successful at using the social networking sites demonstrated better cognition and were more on-the-ball than those who chose to remain detached from Internet use.

It’s important to note that the participants were given tutorials on getting around the internet. Sites like Facebook can be a great place to interact, but they can be overwhelming for the uninitiated. If you’re new to the web and social networking, try to get some formal or informal instruction to help you make the most of the experience.

(Photo by Photocapy via flickr)

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