Internet may help prevent mental illness

Posted on October 17, 2013

'Using the internet can help keep older people engaged and is a form of cognitive activity providing mental stimulation (flickr)

Health promotion agency VicHealth has published new research showing that people over 65 derive key health benefits from the internet, with activities like social networking playing an important role in staving off depression and reducing isolation.

The study also found that older people with internet access feel safer, volunteer more and have greater involvement with their communities.

'Using the internet can help keep older people engaged and is a form of cognitive activity providing mental stimulation,' Alzheimer's Australia research fellow Dr Maree Farrow told AAP.

'And we know that keeping your brain active is associated with lower risk of developing cognitive impairment or dementia.'

But despite the apparent health and social benefits, many older and less wealthy Australians simply can't afford the internet, VicHealth said.

The study found that 92 per cent of households with an income of $120,000 or more have access to the internet, falling to just 41 per cent of those with an income between $10,000 and $19,000.

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Source material from Sky News


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