We’ve discussed in a previous article how playing World of Warcraft may help keep the minds of older adults agile. Now, a recent study on ScienceDaily.com says that using Facebook may give them a mental boost.

Researchers from the University of Arizona led by graduate student Janelle Wholtmann worked with a total of 42 older adults ranging from 68 to 91 years old, all of whom were unfamiliar with Facebook. They were given a series of surveys and neuropsychological tests to gauge both their social and cognitive abilities prior to the trial.

Upon finishing the initial assessment, the researchers then trained 14 older adults to use Facebook. They were asked to add each other as friends as well as to post at least one status message a day. The next group of 14 older adults were asked to use Penzu.com, a site which acts as a private online journal without the option to share information. Similar to the first group, they were asked to post at least one entry in a day. The last group of 14 older adults served as a control group with no exposure to either platform.

Eight weeks after the trial was concluded, Wohltmann and her team found that those who experienced Facebook did 25 percent better in the second round of neuropsychological tests given. On the other hand, those who used Penzu.com and those who didn’t have any exposure to both online sites did not have any significant social and cognitive improvements.

With this information, you may want to introduce grandparents to Facebook to exercise their minds. Just remember to teach your lolo and lola well, and keep their accounts as private should they want it to be. The Internet can be a crazy place, so make their online safety your top priority.

(Photo by GOIABA - JOHANNES FUCHS via Flickr Creative Commons)

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