More than 80 per cent of Australians over the age of 65 use the internet daily to stay connected with family, friends and online communities, new research by aged care provider The Whiddon Group has shown.
According to the survey, half of Australians aged over 65 experience feelings of loneliness either all or some of the time.
The most common reasons for experiencing these feelings are not knowing enough people in the neighbourhood and a lack of transport or mobility acting as a barrier to getting out and about in the community – both challenges that a proficiency in online activity can help to overcome.
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“The internet and social media is prevalent in all walks of life today for people of all ages and is an avenue we are continuing to explore as a means of supporting our residents to stay connected with loved ones and the community,” Executive General Manager Strategy & Research Karn Nelson said.
Technology and computers have been part of Chris McNeil’s life for nearly 30 years and are tools that she says make her life both easier and safer. Chris, now 68 years old, began using computers back in 1988 and has found that technology plays a more important role in her life now than perhaps she imagined it would.
Chris McNeil was severely injured in a motor vehicle accident 23 years ago. The accident left her with physical and mental injuries affecting her cognitive abilities.
Chris believes that her familiarity and interest in computers and technology prior to her accident, and her ongoing interest after her accident, has helped her to regain motor skills, retrain her brain and stay connected to family and friends.
“It helped bring me back from where I had been,” Chris said.
"Before the accident, I had a healthy IQ; which was diminished, as well as my memory, for some time after my physical injuries had healed. I began my journey back by playing solitaire on the computer and slowly, with the help of one of my sons, I became proficient once more with my computer and then the internet. I took what I had learned from my son and plodded on myself."