A new study suggests, that for older adults, learning to use a tablet computer can help improve memory and assist in completing tasks. The researchers add it can also enhance everyday life and help older adults achieve greater independence. “Mastering technological devices such as the iPad has the added advantage of providing older adults with technological skills that are useful in completing everyday activities, such as banking and shopping,” said study researcher Micaela Y. Chan, of the University of Texas at Dallas.
For the study, 54 older adults, ages 60 to 90, used a tablet computer for 15 hours per week for three months. The 54 participants were split into 3 groups: 18 received extensive training on an iPad tablet, and learned a broad range of applications, while one control group engaged in tasks that required little new learning, and another control group had regular interaction with others but didn’t learn a new skill. The results showed that compared to the control groups, the group with the iPad “showed greater improvements in how fast they could think, and in their episodic memory, which is the recollection of events and experiences that occurred at a particular time and place.”
“In both cases, participants improved their memory and the speed at which they processed information, more than volunteers who joined a social club or merely took part in educational activities such as playing word games,” Chan said. Other studies have supported that older adults who learn new technologies show increased independence in old age and improved life quality, Chan said. A year later, participants were followed up with and the researchers found that cognitive benefits were maintained.