Aging & Caregiving in the News

Related topics: Seniors and the Internet, Senior Lifestyles, Senior Technology

Information, updates and interesting tidbits from across the country and around the world.

In this issue:

  • For senior computer users, tablets may be better than laptops.
  • Will people continue to work longer?
  • Two-minute walks to counteract the dangers of sitting.

Woman helps her senior mom use a tablet computer.


If a Laptop Is Intimidating, Try a Tablet

Though older adults are the fastest-growing group to adopt computer and Internet use, many are still on the wrong side of the "digital divide," missing out on email, social media, online information and the myriad ways that we connect today. A research team from Michigan State University found that for many seniors, the computer mouse is the problem—and tablet computers might be the solution. Says study author Shelia Cotten, "The dexterity required to control a mouse is really hard for some older adults. A certain amount of muscle control is needed. And some older adults have shaking issues, in addition to muscle-control issues in their hands and arms." Tablets also are less complicated, so users are less likely to click a mysterious navigation item and get lost. After a brief tutorial from family caregivers, many seniors soon gain confidence by playing around with a tablet themselves. Cotton says, "For the most part they are pretty easy to operate. You don't have to click on 12 different things to do what you want to do. It helps to ease tech anxiety." The study was published in the journal Educational Gerontology.

Will the Retirement Age Continue to Rise?

We've seen a big change in the traditional face of retirement over the past 30 years. Rather than collect the gold watch at age 65, many seniors have continued to work well beyond then—some because they need the money, and others because they enjoy their jobs. The U.S. Department of Labor says that this is a good thing for our national economy, as these workers continue to pay taxes and cover more of their own expenses. Will the upward trend in the retirement age continue? A new study from Boston College's Center for Retirement Research looked at the factors that have been driving the increase in older workers—changes in Social Security incentives, less physically demanding jobs, the shift to 401(k) plans instead of pensions, and improving health and longevity. The study suggests that these incentives for work in later life are now fully in play, and the rise in retirement age has leveled off. But the later retirement age seems here to stay, as seniors continue to realize that "working longer is the key to a secure retirement." Read more about the study here.

Two-Minute Walks Help Undo the Damage of Sitting All Day

Even if you take part in a regular exercise routine, you are putting your health in danger if you sit down most of the day. Sitting raises the risk of chronic disease and disability, and even shortens life. Why? Sara Rosenkranz of Kansas State University says that when we sit, "we're basically telling our bodies to shut down the processes that help to stimulate metabolism throughout the day, and that is not good." But here's some good news from University of Utah School of Medicine. According to professor of internal medicine Dr. Srinivasan Beddhu, adding two minutes of walking per hour to your routine could help lower the risk of early death, heart disease, diabetes and other chronic conditions. So, if your job or lifestyle keeps you in your seat for hour after hour, make it a habit to go for a short stroll down the hall or around the block every hour. Beddhu reminds us that these mini-workouts don't take the place of our regular exercise routine, which should include at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise to strengthen our heart, muscles and bones. The study appeared in the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.  

Source: IlluminAge Communication Partners; copyright 2015 IlluminAge.