Cyber Seniors

From Michigan comes a report about the doors opened by high-speed Internet access. The Lansing State Journal reports on a class aimed at increasing Internet skills for seniors, a demographic at danger of being left on the wrong side of the digital divide.

According to the Journal, a new Pew study finds that about half of seniors 65-69 use the Internet. Older seniors, whose working lives were less computer-dependent, have lower rates of Internet use.

The classes, held by a senior group in Delta Township, introduce seniors to computer skills, moving them from word processing to email and Internet searching. The ten-week classes are held at a local high school.

High-speed Internet access has the potential to improve seniors' lives immensely. A 2005 study estimates that seniors with Internet access are less likely to suffer depression than those without access.

The benefits of a national Internet deployment strategy are particularly salient for seniors, especially those living in isolated or rural areas. A high-speed home connection gives seniors access to education, entertainment, and social interaction. And, as a report released last year by SeniorNet notes, "Perhaps the most dramatic example of the benefits of the Internet for seniors is its potential to deliver health care services to patients when and where they are most needed."

Lansing State Journal: Cyber Seniors

Older Americans, Broadband, and the Future of the Net