A recent report from the Phoenix Center for Advanced Legal & Economic Public Policy Studies found that social media and Internet usage have the potential to reduce depression levels in senior citizens by 20%–and hence trim the nation’s health care costs.

“Maintaining relationships with friends and family at a time in life when mobility becomes increasingly limited is challenging for the elderly,” says Dr. Sherry G. Ford, a co-author of the study and an associate professor of communication studies at University of Montevallo in Alabama. “Increased Internet access and use by senior citizens enables them to connect with sources of social support when face-to-face interaction becomes more difficult.”

In the Phoenix Center study, authors considered these statistics:

  • Depression affects millions of Americans age 55 or older and Buy Generic Drugs costs the US $100 million every year in direct medical costs, suicide and mortality, and workplace costs.
  • Approximately 42% of Americans age 65 or older use the Internet, compared to 79% of the general population, according to the Pew Internet & American Life Project.
  • Internet subscription rates are lower in states and countries with older populations.

Based on these statistics, the opportunity for improved outcomes for depression in seniors from increased social media and Internet usage is significant, according to the study.

Access the full results of the Phoenix Center study.

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