Key Takeaways:

Classes on GetSetUp help older adults learn technology skills, but they also help create connections and reduce feelings of isolation. The study “observed better episodic memory in older adults who combined offline and online modes for communicating with others in their social network.”

A study by the University of West London's Geller Institute of Ageing and Memory found that supplementing conventional social interactions with online socialization may help older adults as they age. The study evaluated the communication of 11,418 participants over 50.

With the pandemic, many of the rules were broken when it came to older adults using technology.  What once was seen as something they were uninterested in and couldn’t do became something many older adults actively sought out to learn. Communities like GetSetUp were designed specifically to help older adults learn to use technology in a safe and interactive environment with peers.

“Although interpersonal contact in older age is traditionally offline (i.e., in-person and over-the-phone interactions that rely on real-time, audiovisual, or auditory-only exchanges, respectively), a growing number of older adults supplement these with online (i.e., technology-mediated) communication modes (Hunsaker & Hargittai, 2018; Lieberman & Schroeder, 2020). For example, e-mailing, which is an asynchronous, text-based, visual experience, is an online social contact method favored by many older adults. Indeed, important well-being benefits of online social support have been reported (White & Dorman, 2001). Moreover, learning to use, and engage with, online social technology may offer direct cognitive stimulation (Myhre et al., 2017),” according to the study.”

Classes on GetSetUp help older adults learn technology skills, but they also provide much needed socialization based on common areas of interest. In particular, classes on video platforms like Zoom, have helped create connections and reduce feelings of isolation among older adults.

The study “observed better episodic memory in older adults who combined offline and online modes for communicating with others in their social network,” particularly for those suffering hearing loss.

The pandemic only accelerated this trend, as more and more older adults joined online in places like GetSetUp, and leveraged tools like Zoom, to communicate with friends and family and enjoy new experiences.

Want to learn more about technology that can help you as you age? Check out this series on Smart Home Devices.

May 17, 2022
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Liz Miller

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