Older adults are prone to feeling lonely and isolated. If you are feeling down, maybe it’s time to step up your use of modern communication technology that keeps you in touch with others.
A recent study by Michigan State University found that Internet usage among the elderly can reduce the chances of depression by more than 30 percent.
Researchers analyzed data from more than 3,000 respondents between 2002 and 2008, tracking the subjects’ depression levels before and after they began using the Internet. Some who were depressed before getting online remained depressed in spite of their new technology use, but overall there was a strong positive effect. The people who benefited the most were those who lived alone.
Using email and staying involved in the community helps you keep your social networks intact, which is increasingly important as we age. Even if it’s just looking at photos of your grandkids or perusing the news, spending a part of each day online is a fun way of maintaining your connection with the world.
The Internet can also help you learn about individual health plans, and how to apply for Medicare benefits and Medicare Advantage. It is a great way to shop for affordable insurance and compare local health plans.
If you want to be more tech-savvy, check whether your local library has computer classes available. Or reach out to friends who are skilled at computer use. It’s fun to compare notes via email and even better when you make dates for face-to-face interaction with folks you enjoy.
Obviously, just surfing the net won’t solve every problem. You can learn a lot about preventive care but websites don’t replace doctors. If you experience a low mood that you just can’t shake, don’t hesitate to speak with your physician about it.