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Contributed by Karen Weeks of Elder Wellness

Today’s senior citizens have an advantage that previous generations lacked: the Internet. With

access to the countless resources available online, today’s elderly can fight loneliness and

cognitive decline even as their health and mobility become limited. Here are seven ways that

seniors can socialize, learn new skills, and stay active, all from the comfort of home.

  1. Social Networks

Social networks let seniors keep in touch with friends and family, see the latest pictures of

children and grandchildren, and play games and share in discussion with friends and

acquaintances. Social networks also have the benefit of being easy to use, making them a great

entry point for less tech-savvy seniors.

  1. Online Games

Aging adults can keep their minds sharp with single-player online games like crosswords,

sudoku, and jigsaw puzzles, as well as “brain training” games. Online multiplayer games provide

the same stimulation with the added benefit of a social element, although not all of them are

suitable for beginners. Check out this list for games that are easy to learn.

  1. Online Music Lessons

According to National Geographic, playing an instrument has the power to “enhance and build

connections within the brain,” even if you don’t start playing until late in life. Online music

lessons are an excellent option for seniors who can’t travel for in-person instruction. For seniors

with arthritis, woodwind instruments like the clarinet offer more pain-free playing than more

common instruments like the piano or guitar. Even if seniors have never picked up a clarinet in

their lives, they can find the right fit with an online clarinet buying guide.

  1. Free College Courses

For seniors with a thirst for learning, free online courses are the perfect way to stay mentally

engaged in retirement. Whether they want to dabble in a diversity of subjects or pursue a

passion that was pushed aside during their career, seniors can find relevant courses through

websites like Coursera, Udemy, edX, and more. This rundown from Lifehack will help seniors

choose the best educational resource for their needs.

  1. Fitness Videos

Staying active is just as important for seniors as it is for younger adults. However, getting to the

gym isn’t always easy for seniors, and they may feel too intimidated to go at all. Online workout

videos provide a great alternative to a gym membership. While there are many free exercise

videos to be found online, not all of them are appropriate for people with limited mobility. Heart

and Soul Fitness is a welcome exception, with dozens of free videos designed for seniors.

     6. Citizen Science

For older adults who are curious about the natural world, contributing to citizen science projects

is a fun way to explore interests and feel like a part of a broader community. Seniors can use

the Internet to report bird sightings, submit recordings of frog and toad calls or examine

microscopic images for interstellar dust.

Retirement quickly becomes boring if you’re not learning and doing, but the effects of age make

it difficult for many seniors to get out of the house. By making use of resources available online,

seniors can find stimulation and interaction no matter their disability status. These six

suggestions are just a taste of the possibilities. If the senior in your life has an interest that isn’t

covered here, do a little digging—you’ll be amazed at what you can find online.


Seniors in Maryland who have trouble seeing the computer screen or using a computer keyboard or mouse should contact Maryland TAP to learn about different computer access methods and assistive technology that could make the computer easier to use! mdtap@mdtap.org


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