A study teaching older people how to use programs like Facebook has found social media can help reduce feelings of isolation and loneliness among seniors.
Researchers from the Connecting Older Adults project say that while technology has helped older Australians remain in their homes for longer, many feel cut off from society.
The Sydney University team trained 150 senior citizens to use Twitter, Facebook and Skype and checked in with them regularly over a period of six months.
"Based on early short training, they were able to find the technologies quite usable, and we had some measurable benefits in terms of loneliness and social engagement," lead researcher Professor Robert Steele said.
One of the participants, 67-year-old Mila Pinko from Sydney, says social media has once again made her feel like part of the community.
"It's just great. You don't feel isolated, you don't feel depressed," she said.
Ms Pinko says since the training she now uses social media every day.
"It introduced me to Facebook and Twitter, which I'd never touched before," she said.
"With Skype it helped me a lot because I can transfer files now and also speak over Skype and do a lot of photos, receive photos and send photos.
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Via Chuck Sherwood, Senior Associate, TeleDimensions, Inc