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Researchers: Many of the 'oldest old' are online

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Some U.S. residents ages 80 and older are “cyber shut-ins,” but plenty are plugged in.

Analysts at the Stanford Center on Longevity have published data on older Americans’ use of social technology in a summary of results from a survey conducted by Kelton and sponsored by Brookdale Senior Living, a long-term care (LTC) facility operator.

See also: 10 statistics about older Americans that might surprise you

The survey team contacted 445 U.S. adults ages 80 and older via telephone and online systems. The participants had no obvious cognitive impairment; all could correctly report the current year, month and day of week of the interview.

Sixteen percent of the participants use text messaging systems, and 35 percent use a personal computer at least once a month. Sixty-one percent use cell phones.

Participants who said they use social technology to stay in touch tended to report much lower levels of loneliness than other participants.

Only 67 percent of the social technology users said they often or sometimes feel lonely, compared with 82 percent of the survey participants who do not use social technology.

The social technology users also reported higher life satisfaction levels. About 85 percent of the technology users said they are somewhat or very satisfied with life, compared with 68 percent of the non-users.

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