This guest post Bill Williams, a writer from New Mexico.
Older Americans are embracing the digital age. According to the Pew Research Center, more than half of all Americans older than 65 are now online, but the rest can enjoy benefits from simple community center classes or by being taught at home. Connecting with family members is important, but older people can get much more out of being online.
For many seniors, the most desirable reason to be online is simple friendship. Older adults often lose track of old friends through moving or changes in lifestyles. It’s difficult for adults at any age to make new friends, and seniors who aren’t working have it even harder. For many older people, the Internet is a great source of new friends with similar interests. They’re meeting new people in quilt chat rooms, model train forums, and posting in comments on political blogs. Age really doesn’t matter online, and a group of online friends can include seniors as well as younger people, as long as they have the same interests.
Mental faculties can be maintained by exercising the brain using intricate puzzles and games. A study at UC San Francisco found that seniors who played video games improved their reaction time, attention, and memory. While playing one game over and over can be boring after a while, using a site with hundreds of games offers almost endless play. When you download games from iWin.com or other game sites, you’ll have the option of playing hidden object games, puzzle games, counting games, games with logic, and much more. Each one exercises a different part of the brain, and all of them add a fun factor that can brighten a senior’s day.
Seniors can find hundreds of free college classes online, using the MOOC system of online learning. These classes are held virtually throughout the world, and students learn at their own pace. From gaining new knowledge to enjoying lively discussions with fellow students, older people can gain many benefits from online schools.
Seniors can also increase self-awareness and keep up with current events. Traditionally, senior citizens are most victimized by online scams, usually because they didn’t know what is happening. Someone who is online daily can arm themselves with knowledge and save their computer or even their credit rating from scammers. One of the latest scams involves someone calling on the phone to inform you that your computer has a virus. Someone ignorant of this scam may happily hand over credit card information in return for bogus fixes. On the other hand, for people who are online enough to stay well-informed, combatting these scammers is as simple as letting them know you won’t fall for it, and hanging up the phone.