Is Technology Sustaining Our Seniors?

Arlene (Janzig) and Stuff Smith

Arlene (Janzig) and Stuff Smith

I have been sort of interviewing my friend over the last few weeks in anticipation of a project about her and her late husband, jazz legend Stuff Smith.  She will be ninety on her next birthday and she is sharp as a tack.  She told me she wanted to purchase an electronic book reader or tablet.  At first I couldn’t believe that she even knew what those were, let alone that she wanted to buy one.  But then it clicked, she is extremely intelligent (having worked for NASA at one time) and this was a great way for her to stay connected.


Looking into electronic usage amongst seniors, I was surprised at the numbers.  In the United States of Aging Survey this year, 83% of seniors said it is important for them to use technology—mostly cell phones and computers.  It gives them the ability to be in contact whether at home or away, therefore enabling them to be active.

Happy Guy

One other benefit of technology use by seniors is that engaging in social media sites such as facebook leaves them less lonely.  They say they feel less isolated and don’t have the same fear of deteriorating health that is higher in those not participating in social media.  They look forward to seeing pictures and chatting online with friends and family and see it as their way of staying connected.

Enter Key

What else could be contributing to the happiness of the tech-savvy seniors?  Maybe an increased sense of independence.  By using devices like readers or tablets, they can borrow books from the library without leaving home.  They can increase the font size of the publications to make reading more enjoyable again.  And many others like to go online for research and financial information.

Duluth Area Manuscript Club

Duluth Area Manuscript Club

Whatever their reasons for using technology, it helps to keep them sharp and maybe even learn new things.  So although I agree with last week’s post that too much screen time is not good for young people and balance is the key, it looks like an increase in electronics usage is helping to sustain our seniors.  And there is no denying that fact when I see Arlene watching an old video of her husband online.


One response to this post.

  1. The benefits that seniors receive from being tech savvy are almost too numerous to mention. The key might be to make sure that everyone has fair access to technology and the internet and that they are able to receive instructions and get answers to their questions. In addition to social networking sites, online courses may be another great way for seniors to use technology and exercise their brains.


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