How to Use Technology to Stay Young: Facebook Improves Seniors’ Mental Abilities

We know that Facebook is a great way to keep in touch with family members and friends, but did you know using Facebook may actually have health benefits for those older than 65? A recent study shows that seniors who spend time on the social media site undergo an improvement in their cognitive abilities.

University of Arizona graduate student Janelle Wohltmann created a study of participants ages 68 to 91 and gave them baseline tests to capture their mental abilities and how they were socially. Then the seniors were separated into three groups for the study:

  • Group One was trained on how to use Facebook, asked to become friends with others and told to post messages on their account at least once a day.
  • Group Two was trained to use Penzu — an online diary that has no social sharing aspects to entries — and asked to post messages daily.
  • Group Three was put on a “wait list” for training for Facebook — but they never actually took the training.

fRsTXg6tVhHFFtPotYHLQc-5aQdGuA69ezc7QPykP0cAfter approximately two months, all the participants were once again tested. Of all the groups, Group One, where participants learned how to use Facebook, saw a 25% increase in their scores from before they had their training. The other two groups? They saw no real change in performance.

It turns out that the more seniors actively participated in being social, even online, the more they “exercised” cognitive skills and kept them fresh. This is also important because studies have shown that those who are more socially connected also fare better emotionally because they are more engaged and have a support system in place.

SENIORS USE FACEBOOK AND MORE

At American House, we encourage using technology to stay connected to friends and family — so it’s a bonus that using Facebook brings about a likelihood of increasing cognitive abilities simultaneously! However, we also stress the importance of being secure online and protecting privacy.

Besides Facebook, our residents have recently started using another bit of technology to stay connected to loved ones near and far: Skype. Our residents began learning how to chat via video and they’ve had a great time with it!

To find out more about what social activities we’re offering for our residents at American House, call us today at (248) 579-4422 or visit www.americanhouse.com.

American House Residents Travel to Orchestra Hall to Watch Detroit Symphony Orchestra Perform

imagesOur residents at American House Senior Living have been enjoying visits from Detroit Symphony Orchestra (DSO) musicians for more than a year, but the residents were thrilled to actually be able to attend a full DSO performance recently!

Approximately 700 residents from 30 of our American House communities made the trek to Orchestra Hall in downtown Detroit in May to enjoy the DSO performance and friends and American House staff also joined in the event. We’re so thankful to the DSO for giving our residents this exceptional opportunity!

American House and the DSO created a partnership in 2012 where small ensembles of DSO musicians would play at a few different American House communities — and in 2013 that partnership expanded to present 36 FREE engagements! Each month, three American House communities host the DSO sessions for residents. Three to four DSO musicians play for an hour and the musicians talk to residents during a special meet and greet following the shows!

It was a great treat for our residents to be able to travel and watch a performance with the entire DSO at Orchestra Hall. In fact, the musicians in the opening performance told the audience, *”You’ve been gracious enough to welcome us in your homes, and we wanted the opportunity to welcome you into our home!”*

Residents were captivated watching and listening to the beautiful music — but perhaps even more enchanting was after the performance, when the musicians and conductor met with residents in the audience to answer questions and chat!

This was only one of the many exciting and enriching events we offer our residents — call us today at (248) 579-4422 or visit www.americanhouse.com to find out what other activities and special happenings we have going on at American House!