Tablet-Savvy Seniors Report Better Moods

Spending more time in the digital world could help older adults lead happier lives in the real one, according to Case Western Reserve University psychologist T. J. McCallum, PhD.

Tablet-Savvy Seniors

McCallum, an associate professor of psychology, hypothesized that high-tech training on computer tablets would lead to more and broader social engagement for seniors—a key sign of aging well.

McCallum and his team provided 90 minutes of individualized and small-group training each week to a group of Chicago-area seniors, teaching them how to use the tablets to email family and friends, shop online, post pictures and more.

Individualized and small-group instruction helped shorten the learning curve, McCallum says.

As those in the 12-week study became more comfortable with the tablets, they not only were more socially and productively engaged with family and friends, but they also reported higher levels of self-esteem and life satisfaction than members of a control group who received no training. The face-toface instruction also boosted the participants’ confidence in going online on their own.

The study participants reported upwardtrending changes in optimism and problemsolving ability, too.

“These trends weren’t just tied to their tablet use,” McCallum says. “They were changes in their total outlook.”