Seniors are getting social with technology

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Al Armstrong

(NC)—They can spend hours surfing the Internet, playing on social networking sites, and using the latest electronic tools to connect with those close to them. Teenagers, you say? No, this is the activity of today's seniors.

A new national survey revealed that of Canadians aged 75-plus who are online, 53 per cent are on a social networking site such as Facebook or MySpace, and 97 per cent are active e-mailers. Leger Marketing conducted the survey for Revera, a Canadian leader in seniors' accommodation, care and services.

One of those tech-savvy seniors is 101-year-old Al Armstrong, who lives at Revera's The Heartland Retirement Residence in Okotoks, Alberta. When he was born, the telephone – another form of communications technology – was still a relatively novel gadget. Now, Armstrong stays connected online. That became especially important when friends of his moved halfway around the world and two of his children moved to the United States.

“They want to hear from Dad and Grandpa, so I e-mail them to stay in touch,” says Armstrong, a former reporter who enjoys keeping up with his grandchildren's adventures through the stories and photos that they send.

Armstrong says he is so committed to staying online that upon moving to The Heartland last year, the first thing he did was set up an Internet connection.

Armstrong is one example of how technology can be a critical tool for seniors to stay in touch with friends and family. For a growing number of Canadian seniors, it looks like that familiar phrase “You don't call anymore” may soon be replaced with “Why haven't you accepted my Friend request?”

Organizations: Leger Marketing, The Heartland Retirement Residence

Geographic location: Okotoks, Alberta, United States

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