The Elderly and the Internet, comment

While I agree that the Internet has enabled the elderly as well as many others an opportunity to research health information. The elderly must be aware that all sites do not contain quality accurate medical information and that the researchers should use caution. Information should be taken from sites with long established history for providing credible and reliable medical information. Now, from a purely mental health prospective, the Internet provides an opportunity for the elderly to connect with family, senior citizen groups, and other outside activities that they would otherwise not have any access. In this day of modern technology, not many family members are reachable by home phones; therefore cell phones, email, and text messages are the norms for communication. In fact, if one wants to keep in touch with family and especially the teenaged family members, email and text messages are their best chance for communication. In addition, with the limited amount of patience and attention teenagers’ exhibit, a brief and not so personal interaction with elderly relatives is about all they can stand. So if text messaging is the chosen method of communication, one must become well informed about the text language. In addition, for many elderly people having the ability to stay in regular contact with family members does as much or more for their psyche than anything else does.

Original Post
April 29, 2009
The Elderly and the Internet
The Internet has become not only a useful tool for the elderly by providing a lifeline to friends and family, but also offers a source of references for those seeking health information. Health Promotion (2006) notes: “because individuals will be increasingly responsible for their own health, they will need access to quality information that has not been readily available in the past.” They also go on to recommend “Net Wellness, an electronic consumer health information services that provides the best possible health information to the broadest possible populations.” This site not only provides consumers with information on health topics, they also assists in locating health centers and provides a reference library. In addition, the site will respond to health related questions, drawing upon a panel of almost 500 experts. It has become a one-stop shopping mall for the health information consumer. As long as the resources are available (computer and hook-up), the ease of using a computer is readily mastered for most, regardless of age. My mother has been proficient on her PC for many years, and in the Human Resource office of the organization where I work, Bob, a 94-year old volunteer, has assisted customers with filling out on-line applications for several years. I think he is always amazed by the number of younger people that are not comfortable on the computer and takes a sense of pride in his skill level. By using the computer to broaden one’s knowledge of health promotion, we all become wiser consumers, including those of all ages.

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