A study by the University of West London's Geller Institute of Ageing and Memory found that supplementing conventional social interactions with online socialization may help older adults as they age. The study evaluated the communication of 11,418 participants over 50.
With the pandemic, many of the rules were broken when it came to older adults using technology. What once was seen as something they were uninterested in and couldn’t do became something many older adults actively sought out to learn. Communities like GetSetUp were designed specifically to help older adults learn to use technology in a safe and interactive environment with peers.
“Although interpersonal contact in older age is traditionally offline (i.e., in-person and over-the-phone interactions that rely on real-time, audiovisual, or auditory-only exchanges, respectively), a growing number of older adults supplement these with online (i.e., technology-mediated) communication modes (Hunsaker & Hargittai, 2018; Lieberman & Schroeder, 2020). For example, e-mailing, which is an asynchronous, text-based, visual experience, is an online social contact method favored by many older adults. Indeed, important well-being benefits of online social support have been reported (White & Dorman, 2001). Moreover, learning to use, and engage with, online social technology may offer direct cognitive stimulation (Myhre et al., 2017),” according to the study.”
Classes on GetSetUp help older adults learn technology skills, but they also provide much needed socialization based on common areas of interest. In particular, classes on video platforms like Zoom, have helped create connections and reduce feelings of isolation among older adults.
The study “observed better episodic memory in older adults who combined offline and online modes for communicating with others in their social network,” particularly for those suffering hearing loss.
The pandemic only accelerated this trend, as more and more older adults joined online in places like GetSetUp, and leveraged tools like Zoom, to communicate with friends and family and enjoy new experiences.
Want to learn more about technology that can help you as you age? Check out this series on Smart Home Devices.
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“Thanks to GetSetUp we had a super successful 2 hour Zoom Open House with 5 family households across 3 generations and 3 time zones. Your guides provide a real service in these challenging times. This afternoon I plan to learn to organize all the podcasts I've been downloading and on Sunday I will put my earlier training to use to tour a museum virtually.”
“Both Donna and Norman were both exceptional in guiding the class of 35. They patiently answered questions and explained how to use the procedures on individual devices. Again, I feel fortunate to have this opportunity to participate and learn more and more about Zoom. I lead an international Bible study each week and will be Zooming for a long time, well maybe not that long as I am 93 years old.”
“I was able to throw a successful baby shower for my daughter the other weekend using information from the Zoom host and Kahoot! classes I’ve taken at GetSetUp. It was such fun!”
“For the Christmas holiday, I was able to host a Zoom holiday reunion with family from Texas and all over Michigan. It was fun to touch base with everyone.”
As an event planner, Nadine moved family reunions, birthday parties, and other events online.
“I had to think outside the box and use Zoom. The pandemic forced me to take all the Zoom classes and all the Google classes. I learned a lot about backgrounds and Kahoots.”
“During the pandemic, using Zoom has enabled me to be able to visit family and friends, participate in numerous learning opportunities, attend church and do volunteer work.
In addition to the above, it's allowed me to meet new people and make new friends.”
To celebrate all that Zoom has done to help older adults connect during the pandemic and beyond, GetSetUp is hosting Harry Moseley, CIO of Zoom, for a special Guest Speaking Event on May 27.
Hear from Harry Moseley, CIO of Zoom, about the company's rapid growth during the pandemic. Also, hear Harry's story of coming out of retirement to fill his current position and what it can mean to start a new large project later in life.
What we will cover
Together explore how older adults are embracing technology as they age whether that is by coming out of retirement to run a company like Zoom or learning how to connect with friends, family, and meet new people.
Smart home devices, apps, and tools can help aging adults save money, stay safe, and have more peace of mind. Not only can they provide added security and reminders, but
“My niece is too polite to call me old. I knew she was thinking it was a shock that I knew more about Zoom than she did. So I told her - ‘ . . . I might be a bit slower,.