www.tidewaterreview.com/features/va-tr-health-seniorssurf-1016-20131015,0,6067243.story

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Silver Surfers: Internet knowledge can help seniors battle depression

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As the busy fall season kicks into high gear for families, older loved ones can feel cast aside, isolated and alone. Grandkids are busy with classes and activities, while parents balance work and family life. So in all the hustle and bustle, who's staying in touch with Grandma and Grandpa - especially if they don't live close by?

That's why Visiting Angels, one of the nation's largest in-home senior care companies with an office in our area, has started a "Silver Surfers" program – helping seniors learn to surf the net. Caregiving Angels and a Social Media Maven go into seniors' homes to teach tech – everything from text messaging and Skype to Facebook and the Internet. Seniors earn a "Silver Surfers" certification when they crush a wave of new technology, giving them a sense of accomplishment. The program is part of Visiting Angels' larger Social Care Program - a care plan for different life stages that helps seniors socially connect and engage, cope with loss, understand life changes and prevent social isolation.

The Visiting Angels Social Care: "Silver Surfers" program also helps older Americans battle depression. One fourth of all seniors over the age of 65 suffer from depression.

Recent studies show:

•Seniors who surf the internet can reduce depression by 20 percent.

•A University of Arizona study finds seniors who use Facebook showed a 25 percent improvement in mental "updating" skills - essentially improving their working memory.

•Another study shows seniors who visit social networking sites like Facebook have a positive emotional experience when measured by breathing rates, brain stimulation and pupil dilation.

For more information, visit: http://www.VisitingAngels.com.