Seniors might stave off memory loss by frequenting Facebook, a new study suggests.

Who would have thought that 40 years after the first email was successfully sent that we would be creating virtual spaces to connect with our friends, family and community via “the net!”  Not only has it become a modern phenomenon but it is a way of life.  I’m talking about Facebook.  Yes, the noun, the verb and the adverb– Facebook. 

Something that started as a way to rate chicks on college campuses in the early 2000s has essentially become THE hub to reconnect, invite, like, friend and chat with folks from all over the world.  And it doesn’t just stop there – social media tools such as Twitter, LinkedIn, MySpace, Skype have also joined the ranks.

A recent study involving two senior resident facilities in Italy gave their participants laptops with wireless connections, along with tutorials on how to maneuver on the internet.  The men and women were schooled on the ins and outs of Facebook, Twitter and Skype. Those folks who got the knack of it were successful at using the social networking sites and demonstrated better cognition than those who chose to remain detached from internet use. 

Yes, it’s true.   Those who are actively learning- whether it be a new language, a musical instrument or technology, are more likely to improve brain cognition in both memory and brain health. 

Not only is it about keeping the mind active, but it has long been reported that sites like Facebook can actually help reduce stress, anxiety and depression.  What’s even more amazing is that researchers have added brain flexibility to the list.  A study conducted by the Italian Association of Psychogeriatrics, an organization that promotes better geriatric mental health, revealed that Facebook and internet technology in general helps to keep elderly peoples cultural curiosity alive.  It stimulates attention span and memory, keeping them mentally young. 

Still not convinced? Let the numbers tell the rest of the story.

In recent years, the number of silver-set members who are entertaining themselves via sites like Facebook has increased by 80 percent.  The number of seniors who have profiles on Facebook exceeds 1.5 million.

A pretty impressive number!  However, though you might not be apt to navigate all of the social media trends or update your status via Twitter regularly, one thing is for sure– Facebook ,whether it’s just a way to keep up on your children at college, voice your political views or just good for your brain, IS fun!  So, what are you waiting for?  Join the 500 million people around the world and post on!


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