Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Web Secret #235: Tech for Seniors

A couple of months ago, the New York Times devoted its entire Science News section to look at some of the many ways technology is changing the world of medicine. This is the second in a series of blogposts devoted to a further analysis of some of the articles in that section.

Recently, I have been suffering from arthritis pain that has been pretty much unresponsive to narcotics, anti-inflammatory meds, acapuncture, etc. So when a friend suggested I try tumeric, a spice associated with Indian cuisine, I was skeptical, to say the least.

What the hell, I decided to research tumeric. Using my Internet searching capabilities, I easily found reputable research on its medical uses. I ordered my capsules online from Amazon, and two days later I ingested my first dose. 96 hours from my first tumeric Google search, I experienced a 50% decrease in pain. It was that remarkable.

As I get older, I will be more frequently looking to the Internet for information about health care. Sadly, "Americans over 65, whose health stands to benefit the most from modern digital technology, are the least able and least likely to use it. As of April [2012], according to the Pew Research Center's Internet and American Life Project, 53 percent of Americans 65 and older were using the Internet or e-mail, but after age 75, use dropped off significantly, to 34 percent. By contrast, nearly 90 percent of younger adults are digitally connected."

According to Jane Brody's article, "E-Health Opportunities for Seniors," getting more seniors digitally connected, either personally or through caregivers, is expected to greatly enhance opportunities to protect the health and well-being of older people and, at the same time, reduce both individual and national health care costs.

The good news is that it's not too late. "A Pew Center study last year concluded that "80 is the new 60" - more and more older adults now use computers and the Internet, and two-thirds of seniors using the Internet have looked for health information online."

Personally, I recommend getting a mac and taking advantage of Apple's fantastic "one to one" training programs. Based on my (granted somewhat limited) experience teaching seniors how to use the Internet, I believe they learn best in a one on one format.

Learn not to be afraid of the machine.

1 comment:

  1. When people see something that can actually improve their lives, they're going to seek it out and use it.