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Seniors should have an online presence

Senior Wellness | Jul 21, 2014

Whether it's through social media or email, it's important for seniors to use the Internet to stay in touch with family and friends.

According to a study earlier this year from Pew Center for Internet and American Life, Internet-use among seniors is on the rise. The data showed that more half of Americans over 65 were using the Internet in 2013, well above the one-sixth of seniors using it in 2000. The study also showed that Facebook saw the strongest growth in 2013. Of the seniors who used the Internet last year, 45 percent have Facebook, up 10 percent from the year before.

Internet use helpful for seniors
Seniors taking to social media and other outlets to stay in contact with friends are likely better off when it comes to developing depression.

A separate study from professors at Michigan State University, published in the Journals of Gerontology, Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, showed that Internet use has been proven to help seniors ward off depression.

So how does the Internet help? It keep seniors in touch with loved ones, helping reduce the risk of feeling isolated.

"The key is that the Internet helps older adults stay in contact with their friends and family and to feel part of a larger community," said Shelia Cotten, the study's lead author and a professor with the department of telecommunication, information studies and media at Michigan State University. "They're still actively engaged in some segment of our society, and they're not feeling like life has passed them by."

Planning for the road ahead
Those nearing retirement are encouraged to get acquainted with social media to familiarize themselves with these outlets. Retirement will likely be more comfortable with a plan. Whether it's learning how to keep up with friends or choosing a Medicare Supplement insurance policy that suits their needs, planning for the road ahead will ensure retirement is comfortable and enjoyable.