Why “Screen Time” May Be Better for Us Than We Think

July 27, 2020

Why “Screen Time” May Be Better for Us Than We Think

We often hear that spending too much time on our computers and iPads can be bad for us – but is that really the whole picture?  The research is in: Technology may offer some surprising health benefits for older adults.

It can help to compare screen time to food, writes Catherine Price for The New York Times: “Some [types] feel more ‘nutritious’ than others, and their effects on our moods can vary depending on the context, content and doses.” Technology is at its best when we use it to connect with others, learn and create, and expand our horizons.

Here are just a few of the ways technology can help us live, think and feel better:

  • Staying Happy. From Zoom-call birthday parties to Facebook photo albums, we’re all getting better at using the internet to stay in touch with loved ones. That has a big impact on mood and wellness: Older adults who are active on social media have a reduced risk of depression, and they tend to report higher levels of social support, life satisfaction, sense of purpose, and well-being.
  • Staying Sharp. It’s not news that technology brings a world of information to our fingertips, making it easier to pick up new skills at home. But did you know that even learning how to use new technology – whether that’s navigating an iPad, learning to use Zoom, or mastering a programming language – can keep your mind active? Scientists at UCLA found that using the Internet regularly can stimulate activity in areas of the brain related to decision-making and complex reasoning, two important factors in cognitive health.
  • Staying Healthy. Using social technology can also protect you from more tangible health risks. A 2016 study found that spending time on social media was linked to better self-rated health and fewer chronic illnesses for older adults. Staying in touch with friends and family – even digitally – can boost heart health, immunity, and overall wellness.
  • Staying Engaged. While staying home is important right now, that doesn’t mean you need to give up your favorite activities. (In fact, having fun can be good for you!) At The Mayflower, residents have adapted an array of hobbies to digital channels, including bridge night, Mahjongg, book club, sewing circles and more.

At The Mayflower, we’re bringing a digital flair to lifelong learning at our upcoming virtual webinar on the importance of having a plan for future healthcare needs. If COVID-19 has reminded us about anything, it’s that life is unpredictable – and that an unforeseen health event can happen at any time. That’s why we’re here to guide you through the process of planning today … so you can be in control of your health tomorrow.

You can choose any of three sessions to attend: The seminar will be offered on Monday, August 17 at 11 a.m., Wednesday, August 19 at 1 p.m., and Tuesday, August 25 at 11 a.m. For more information, or to RSVP, please call 407.672.1620 or email taylor@themayflower.com.

We look forward to meeting you soon … virtually!