99 year old Skyper shows why aged care facilities should offer internet access

Oct 05, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Internet access should be mandatory in all aged care facilities, according to a University of Melbourne expert.

Currently, only a handful of facilities offer internet access to residents. However, Dr John Murnane from the Melbourne Graduate School of Education said this wasn’t enough.

“Internet access provides an important opportunity for mental stimulation, which is closely tied to older people’s health,” said Dr Murnane. “It is also a liberating outlet for those confined to a single building on a day-to-day basis. Everyone living in retirement facilities deserves to experience these benefits.”

Dr Murnane’s research in a low-care hostel in Melbourne has shown that, while there are many challenges, older people can learn to use computers and access email, and derive huge benefits from doing so.

“The residents I work with are all over the age of 85. I’ve been working with them since 2007, and now many of them can use email by themselves. The oldest participant, who is 99, is currently learning to Skype, to keep in touch with relatives in France,” he said.

“Email is the most popular activity among our participants, with its ability to send photographs particularly valued. However, some participants are also developing an interest in researching family histories online, and the group has a growing Facebook presence.”

Dr Murnane disputed widely-held beliefs that residents of aged care facilities and other elderly people were too old to learn to use the internet.

“The way we talk about the internet, for example by referring to digital natives and immigrants, helps to build a culture of fear among the non-computer literate. We need to stop thinking about the internet as the preserve of the young; indeed, the way the world wide web enables us to explore, learn and communicate might have been especially designed for the elderly or disabled.”

Dr Murnane said it was likely aged care facilities would face increasing pressure to introduce the internet in the next five to 10 years, as a growing number of computer-literate residents moved in.

“Although making internet access available can be costly and resource-intensive for aged , I believe the benefits certainly outweigh the costs. They shouldn’t have to wait for residents to demand . Current residents deserve access now,” he said.

Explore further: Exploring 3-D printing to make organs for transplants

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Are we getting enough vitamin D?

Oct 04, 2010

Researchers at the Queensland Institute of Medical Research (QIMR) are on a mission to find out if we need to supplement our diet with vitamin D.

New sensor nanotechnology simplifies disease detection

Oct 04, 2010

Researchers at Stony Brook University have developed a new sensor nanotechnology that could revolutionize personalized medicine by making it possible to instantly detect and monitor disease by simply exhaling ...

Prevention still the best medicine

Oct 05, 2010

Although the debate continues about the screening and treatment of illnesses such as breast cancer, osteoporosis and cardiovascular disease, there is one fundamental piece of advice all physicians agree on: ...

Recommended for you

Exploring 3-D printing to make organs for transplants

Jul 30, 2014

Printing whole new organs for transplants sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, but the real-life budding technology could one day make actual kidneys, livers, hearts and other organs for patients ...

High frequency of potential entrapment gaps in hospital beds

Jul 30, 2014

A survey of beds within a large teaching hospital in Ireland has shown than many of them did not comply with dimensional standards put in place to minimise the risk of entrapment. The report, published online in the journal ...

Key element of CPR missing from guidelines

Jul 29, 2014

Removing the head tilt/chin lift component of rescue breaths from the latest cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) guidelines could be a mistake, according to Queen's University professor Anthony Ho.

Burnout impacts transplant surgeons (w/ Video)

Jul 28, 2014

Despite saving thousands of lives yearly, nearly half of organ transplant surgeons report a low sense of personal accomplishment and 40% feel emotionally exhausted, according to a new national study on transplant surgeon ...

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

Kumelys
not rated yet Oct 22, 2010
Epic!