Can Using the Internet Help With Depression?

  • May 2, 2014
Can Using the Internet Help With Depression?

Maybe you just think of your computer as another household appliance. You use your blender to puree food. You use your TV to watch your soaps. You use your computer to pay your bills.

But the computer is so much more than that for so many seniors, especially those who live alone. The Internet is a doorway to the rest of the world and you can walk through it even if you don’t walk so well anymore. The web connects you to faraway relatives, gives you access to communities with shared interests and even gives you the chance to make new friends in the real world. This is why, according to a recent article in Reuters Health, retirees who use the Internet are not as likely to suffer from depression than are their less computer-savvy peers.

Happiness is a Warm Keyboard

We all feel isolated and alone once in awhile. But aging can magnify these feelings. With retirement, you may be losing access to a vibrant community of friends, associates and new relations. With the loss of a spouse, you may be living alone for the very first time in your life. Of course, as you and your closest friends advance in age, it’s not as easy to get around for visits anymore. This is at least one reason, according to Reuters, that somewhere between 5 and 10% of all Americans over the age of 50 suffer from Depression.

But the Internet may offer an antidote. According to a recent study conducted by telecommunication researchers at Michigan State University, seniors who used the Internet saw a 33% reduction in the likelihood of suffering from depression. Moreover, the impact was greatest among those seniors living alone. In other words, for those who otherwise felt the greatest isolation from friends, family and the outside world, the internet provided the greatest relief.

Virtual Retirement Communities

Research shows that seniors are among the fastest growing user groups on the web. According to a recent Pew Research study, this year marks the first time in history that more than half of surveyed seniors identified themselves as Internet users. At 59%, seniors are adopting the Internet and making it their own.

Seniors are using search engines to find information that was once not so accessible. Seniors are using social media forums like Facebook to connect with relatives and long-lost friends. Seniors are even using dating websites to get back out on the open market.

Just as important, the web is a valuable resource for connecting to support groups, receiving health information from your providers, refilling your prescriptions or enjoying any number of other energy and time-saving conveniences. In short, says an article in USA Today, the web has the potential to be both invigorating and empowering for seniors.

Going Digital

If you’re concerned that you don’t know the first thing about computers, chances are your grandchildren or your neighbor’s kids can give you a hand. Don’t be afraid to ask somebody for help. Using the web may seem hard at first but if current research is right, it will ultimately make your life a whole lot easier.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Medical Guardian is a leading provider of innovative medical alert systems that empower people to live a life without limits.

KEYWORDS: internet and depression

Related Posts

Oct 5, 2022

Older adults are enjoying more years healthier & independent

For people 65 and up, independent, disability-free years rose not only among healthy seniors, but those living with…

Sep 28, 2022

Senior housing offers variety to meet the Baby Boomer surge

According to The New York Times, the senior housing market is changing. This new growth is spurring variety…

Sep 21, 2022

Risk of falling still barrier to aging-in-place

A recent study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), found that while federal agencies have programs designed…

Sep 14, 2022

Pandemic isolation gave seniors more confidence to age-in-place

A study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society found that the challenges posed to aging adults –…

New to Medical Alert Devices?

Request a Buyer’s Guide.

Get My FREE Buyer’s Guide

By submitting my information, Medical Guardian and its accredited members are authorized to communicate with me regarding options, including by pre-recorded messages and texts. I agree to Medical Guardian Terms of Use & Privacy Policy, including the use of an electronic record to document my agreement.