Studies of older adults repeatedly show that this demographic realizes great benefits from engaging in the digital world. Building skills with digital technology allows older adults to remain engaged in current events, maintain friendships, and continue to build their knowledge through online learning platforms. According to studies done by the New York Older Adults Technology Services (OATS) program, these activities help older individuals retain confidence and avoid depression, and have a positive impact on their overall health and well-being.
While many older adults have adopted technology, research continues to show that older adults are less likely to go online than the rest of the adult population. Some may have low skills and feel uncomfortable using a computer. Others, living on fixed incomes, may be unable to afford the cost of an internet subscription or a computing device. And some may have limitations of sight or touch that make technology more challenging if screens and keyboards are not adjusted for compensation.
Quality of life for older adults can improve when they are provided with the tools and training to utilize digital technologies. Unlike young learners, older adults may require more assistance initially in learning to use new tools, but are likely to become avid adopters once they have mastered meaningful skills. An older population may also favor different devices, preferring tablets or e-readers to smartphones with smaller keyboards and screens.
For more information about training older adults and seniors in digital skills and online tools, see our curriculum materials in Online Resources for Older Adults and Seniors.