A few hours online could reduce an older adult’s chances of succumbing to the twin plagues of loneliness and depression by more than 30 percent, says a recent analysis published in the Journal of Gerontology: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences.
“It all has to do with older persons being able to communicate, to stay in contact with their social networks and just not feel lonely.” says lead study author Sheila Cotten, professor of telecommunication, information studies and media at Michigan State University (MSU), in a press release. Cotten’s team tracked the rates of internet usage, loneliness and depression in a group of more than 3,000 seniors who were part of the larger “Health and Retirement” survey, a nationwide survey of 22,000 older adults conducted every two years.
Loneliness can have serious health consequences. And, with 43 percent of Americans over 55 feeling lonely on a regular basis (according to a University of California, San Francisco study) it’s essential to look for new ways to keep people in touch with their friends and family, especially as they age.