ADELAIDE, Australia, Oct. 2 (UPI) -- In isolated rural areas, the Internet, Skype, email and social networking sites are keeping older people "connected," Australian researchers say.
Lead author Dr. Helen Feist, deputy director of the Australian Population and Migration Research Centre at the University of Adelaide, spent the past three years investigating how technology can be used in remote and rural areas of Australia to improve the lives of older people.
The project looked at the best ways of encouraging older people to adopt new technology in a non-threatening way.
A survey in the Murray Lands region of South Australia found nearly 25 percent of people age 80 and older and more than one-third of those in the groups ages 65-79 were open to learning new technologies.
"In order for people to remain integrated within a world that increasingly relies on new technology, it is important that older people are offered opportunities to adopt and use these new technologies such as computers, smartphones, personal tablets and the Internet," Feist said in a statement.
Study participants introduced to iPads and laptop computers quickly embraced the new technology. They reported a 30 percent increase in comfort levels with computers and the Internet after using them over a 12-month period, Feist said.
"New technology is enabling older people to keep connected regardless of location, distance or mobility," Feist said.
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