One of the fastest growing demographics regarding the older set has to do with the Internet. Statistics show that a growing number of seniors are taking to the World Wide Web for a variety of reasons. Not only that, but many of those getting on line are not those in their early sixties – they are already online in most cases – but those who are in their seventies and eighties.
We live in a technological age, and aging seniors who were born in the late 1920’s or 1930’s are embracing new technology by the millions. In fact, technology is all around us with the use of electricity, television, radio, and especially the Internet. While many aging seniors either are not interested in the new tech age, others may not be able to grasp the concept. But there are many more that are embracing the changes in their lives.
For example, my 90-year-old father is on his cell phone every day checking in with various friends and family members. Five years ago he was still using a landline phone, but now we don’t even have a landline. We both exclusively use our cell phones. Dad will even call me once in a while as he is sitting in the living room and I’m working in my home office/bedroom. I have to laugh, but it works for him at his age.
According to a Pew Research Center’s Internet & American Life Project, for the first time more than half of all adult Americans sixty-five and older are now online. While they are the least likely to go on line, once they get online and learn how to perform basic functions, they are avid in their use of their laptops and iPods.
In 2010, every four in ten seniors were online. As of 2012, Pew reports fifty-three per cent of adults over sixty-five are now on line. Six million more seniors are online than five years ago.
What are they doing online? They are staying in touch with one another as well as staying in touch with what is going on in the world. Here are the top five ways seniors are using the Internet.
- Searching News and Events
- Dating Websites
The above numbers are only going to increase as baby boomers age. While a growing number of the older crowd are just learning how to get online, some in a very limited way, the boomers for the most part are already using the Internet in their job and at home.
One of my favorite “friends” on Facebook is a man who was the president of the local school board when my mother retired as a teacher. That was quite a number of years ago. I’m not sure how much older he is than I am, but he must be at least in his seventies, if not his early eighties. Every morning around 5:30 to 6:30, he writes a post on Facebook where he shares the weather, local and state sports results, mentions what his dog is doing at that time, and where he and his wife are going to breakfast that morning. There are a few other nuggets that he shares as well, including close friends who pass away, and local events such as Fireman’s Field Day, or a local steak dinner or pancake breakfast.
What is pretty neat about that is that he has quite a following. He lives in the country outside a very small town in the middle of our State, and he has hundreds of followers tuning in every morning to say hi and touch bases with him. I know I do.
These are the kinds of things that make it fun to be an aging senior, but someone who is capable of going online and touching bases with those in the area that he or she would not always be able to connect otherwise. The cool thing is that people who have lost touch with one another can also connect through someone like this gentleman as he is sharing.
I am sure there are many other seniors doing much the same thing as they connect with one another on the Internet. As far as I’m concerned – it’s a great time for aging seniors to spend their time as long as they are staying safe – a topic for another post.
My question is, are you online? What are you using the Internet for – any of the items on the above list, or are you finding it useful in other ways? We would love to hear from you.