The Internet and Our Aging Population

Apr 04, 2010 Comments Off on The Internet and Our Aging Population by

The Internet has increasingly become an essential service for individuals of all ages. For kids, teens, adults and older adults, the Internet is an education tool, and offers unlimited information, entertainment, and health services.

  • For our aging population, the Internet also provides a connection to the community, reduces isolation, and increases the possibility than one can “age in place,” remaining in their homes well into their elder years. A study conducted in the fall of 2009 by the Phoenix Center revealed that Internet use may be an effective, low-cost way to expand social interactions, reduce loneliness, get health information and treatment, and, consequently, reduce depression among older adults.

    Social networks on the Internet offers tremendous benefits for older individuals, providing an opportunity for families and friends to stay connected – and to reconnect. In the Spring of 2009, the fastest growing demographic group on Facebook was women over the age of 55.

    According to a recently released study by the Federal Communications Commission, while 65% of adults have broadband service in their home, only 35% of those age 65 and older have broadband in their home. Therefore, there is a significant gap in the number of older adults with broadband in their homes today. Without broadband, the aging community is unable to take advantage of existing and future services that can clearly enhance their quality of life.

    Congress and the Administration have recognized the need to expand broadband access, support sustainable broadband adoption, and community computer centers. With 65% of older adult homes currently not using broadband services in their homes, there is much work to be done to demonstrate the value of broadband to our older population and to stimulate broadband adoption of in their homes.

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