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With technology use on the rise, seniors stand to gain considerable benefits

April 10, 2013

Last year, a report from the Pew Research Center highlighted the increasing presence of technology in the senior population. The study revealed that 53 percent of adults 65 and older used the internet on a regular basis - the first time that figure had surpassed the 50 percent mark. To some residents at retirement communities, it may seem unfathomable to not be connected to the internet. But there are still some who may need assistance navigating the World Wide Web, and there is a growing effort to help them out, The New York Times reports.

The biggest reason why communities around the country have placed an emphasis on helping seniors get connected is that many useful resources - such as the phone book or movie listings in the newspaper - may soon become a thing of the past. One of the most recent programs to spring up came from AARP, which offers a membership program that connects older adults to Best Buy's Geek Squad to help them shop for, purchase and use electronics. Many experts say most seniors are more than capable of using the latest technology, and that it's just a matter of introducing it to them.

"With some of the devices available today, if a person is open and interested and there's something on there that's worth the trouble - like video of family members or the ability to Skype with family - they can learn to use a computer or a tablet," tech industry analyst Laurie Orlov told the Times.

Using connected devices may do more for you than just help you talk to friends and family, some researchers say. A psychologist from Case Western Reserve University in Ohio found that seniors who used tablets generally reported greater social engagement and optimism.