Until few years ago, shared computer centers were sufficient to meet the needs of retirement and senior living communities. However, as new residents bring in their existing gadgets from their previous homes, including smart phones, tablets, and eReaders, there is a growing demand for WiFi connectivity throughout the senior care campus.

The internet acts as a support system for seniors by strengthening social networks with friends and family. Residents are able to see pictures of children and grandchildren and video chat with family members that live far away. Video calls and chats are especially useful for people who use sign language to communicate.

In a 2012 study conducted by the University of Alabama, Internet use in adults aged 50 and over in the U.S. was shown to reduce depression by 20-28%. Overcoming loneliness is much easier through the Internet and social media. Availability of online information can bring about several positive benefits in the personal lives of older Internet users. Reading daily news and finding out what is happening in their local community and across the world makes them feel part of modern society.

The Internet is the fastest way to access a wide range of resources – from medical topics to do-it-yourself tutorials to health information – that make life easier. It helps people connect with others experiencing the same challenges and start discussion groups for life and health issues they experience. This gateway to the outside world is critical once the elderly become homebound. Doctors and other professionals have keyed into this demographic and set up social media pages to take advantage of this customer and patient outlet.

Computer classes at senior centers are growing in popularity. Classes on computer basics as well as instruction in using email and other social media platforms have become more common. Studies indicated that providing Internet training in Senior Living communities could potentially enhance brain function and cognition in older adults. It showed that older people who use the Internet are better adjusted psychologically than those who do not. So, let’s help them take advantage!