Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Make Granny Happy – Friend Her

Great-grandparents can easily surf the web after some instruction, and become their great-grandchildren’s friends on Facebook and Twitter, researchers say. Seniors who move into independent and assisted-living facilities often become depressed because they lose regular contact with their established social network. However, communicating via e-mail and social networking sites appears to be a good remedy in reducing isolation. Shelia Cotten, a sociology professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, and a team of graduate students introduced the Internet and its connections on Facebook, Google and Twitter to 80- and 90-year-olds in such facilities. In the study, the seniors were given eight-week computer-training courses. Fewer than 20% of the study participants had used computers beforehand, but after a couple of weeks in class, they surf the Internet just like their grandkids, Cotten said. The study found Internet use reduced depression by 20% to 28% among older, retired adults.