According to a landmark study in the UK, training older Adults in the use of social media improves cognitive capacity, self-competence, and overall well-being.

Mary with Computer
Mary learning to stay connected.

All participants in the study were vulnerable older adults between 60 and 95 years of age. Half of the participants were assigned randomly to receive training while the other half were assigned to a control group who just received care as usual. The training involved the installation of an “Easy PC package” that included a touch screen computer and keyboard and a broadband internet connection. They were given the computer for 12 months, including a full three-month training period.

It was found that those who were trained had heightened feelings of self-competence, became more engaged in social activity, had stronger senses of personal identity, and showed improved cognitive capacity. These factors indirectly led to overall better mental health and well-being. Participants particularly enjoying connecting with friends and relatives via skype_logo_solid and email.

The project, called Ages 2.0, aimed to assess the extent to which social media and the internet could offer a tool for active aging and address the social isolation that is too often a feature of older age.

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