Older Britons who are adept at using social media have better cognitive capabilities and a higher sense of self-competence than those who don’t know how to use these platforms, according to research carried out in the UK. These factors indirectly improved the mental health and well-being of the elderly involved in the study.
At the onset of the study, the researchers randomly divided a group of elderly individuals into two groups. The members of Group A were each given a user-friendly personal computer with internet access. They also received three months of training on how to set up these units and connect to the web. After that, they were allowed to use the computers for another nine months. Meanwhile, Group B did not receive any of the aforementioned perks.
After the one-year period, the subjects were evaluated. It was discovered that Group A’s cognitive capability and sense of self-competence improved compared to that of Group B. Additionally, this first group enjoyed communicating with friends and relatives via email and Skype.
“Human beings are social animals, and it’s no surprise that we tend to do better when we have the capacity to connect with others. But what can be surprising is just how important social connections are to cognitive and physical health,” said research leader Thomas Morton from the University of Exeter.
“People who are socially isolated or who experience loneliness are more vulnerable to disease and decline. For these reasons finding ways to support people’s social connections is a really important goal,” he added.
The study involved 76 vulnerable adults aged between 60 and 95 who are receiving aid from non-profit organisations and government-supported institutions.