Fewer Senior Surfers

News Note

By Darren Buford

Originally published in Body Sense magazine, Spring/Summer 2005.

When it comes to the abundance of health information on the Internet and the number of elderly readily accessing this information, a “digital divide” exists, according to a study by the Kaiser Family Foundation. Only 30 percent of adults 65 and older have ever gone online, and, of those, only 21 percent has specifically searched for advice on health-related topics. Based on a telephone survey of 1,450 adults aged 50 and older, researchers found that this age group either never learned how to use the Internet; thought it was too complicated, too expensive, or didn’t interest them; or believed someone would try and take advantage of them online. To relieve some of these anxieties, health advocates are hoping to better educate this age group by informing them that online health information can help guide them toward better drug choices and overall well-being.