After the buzz about Facebook’s oldest user, Edythe Kirchmaier, other centenarians are starting to see the appeal of social networking. If you think that the elderly has no place in the Web, think again. A new study has shown that Facebook can actually boost the cognitive abilities of old people.
According to a report published by ScienceDaily from the University of Arizona, men and women older than 65 years old who learn to use Facebook could enjoy an improvement in their cognitive abilities. The findings show that task performance of elderly Facebook users are 25% better versus task performance of elderly non-Facebook users. The tasks performed consist of tests that measure the ability to update the contents of working memory quickly.
This interesting research, which you can read about here, presents some pretty interesting findings that highlight the growing importance of Facebook across all age groups. The elderly population is one of the most under-researched demographics when it comes to social media so studies like this one are crucial to developing a working model of how the elderly fares when it comes to technology and social networking.
On a similar note, another interesting tidbit of news has surfaced regarding a bug that prevents centenarians from entering their true age on Facebook. Marguerite Joseph, 104 years old (105 in April), has a Facebook profile that displays that she’s only 99 years old. Her granddaughter, Gail Marlow, gave the following statement on Channel 4 in Detroit:
“Every time I tried to change the settings to the right year, Facebook always came back with an unknown error message and would send us right back to a year she wasn’t born in. When I try to select the year 1908… it always changes back to 1928.”
Facebook has responded that they are working on a fix to the issue. In the meantime, Joseph’s profile now proudly displays her true age.
If you have a wonderful grandparent, honor them by making a Facebook page for them. Aside from helping them to reconnect with their buddies, it can apparently also do wonders for their mental health.