The Pew Research Center reports that nearly 60 percent of senior citizens (ages 65 and older) today are frequent internet users, a remarkable figure given that so many elderly people grew up before the advent of the computer age. In fact, 47 percent report that they have moved to a faster broadband connection, a clear indication that more and more seniors have achieved a degree of fluency that would have seemed impossible just a few years ago. For seniors who suffer from isolation and depression, the internet is ideal as a means of maintaining social connections and staying in contact with family members. As such, it’s become an important bridge to the world for older adults who want to reinvigorate their lives and make new friends.

A virtual education

The explosion in online educational opportunities has opened unprecedented learning opportunities for seniors. Some of the nation’s leading colleges and universities offer everything from free courses to degree programs, all taught online. For seniors, it’s a great way to advance their knowledge, earn a degree they started years ago, or have some fun learning alongside friends. Interactive videos and online tests make it easy to take classes online whenever you like and learn at your own pace. Educational platforms like Coursera and EdX pull together course offerings from a collection of institutions, allowing seniors to pick and choose from an exhaustive list of course offerings. In fact, 10 percent of students enrolled through Coursera are age 60 and older.

Language skills

The internet makes it easy for computer-literate seniors to pursue a new interest or pick up on one they began years ago. For those who took French or Spanish back in school, the internet is an unparalleled learning resource. In fact, there’s no limit to the number of online language opportunities these days. Have you always wanted to learn Irish Gaelic? There are countless websites that allow you to do just that. Many of them, like Duolingo and Living Language, offer interactive courses and learning resources for free. The Foreign Services Institute website, which was developed by linguists employed by the U.S. government, offers online audio and text materials specifically designed to help learners achieve fluency.

Going to work

Nearly a fourth of all new entrepreneurs fall into the 55-to-64-year-old age group, and today this rivals the number of entrepreneurs nearly half their age. The internet today is a virtual marketplace that allows seniors to set up in business by taking advantage of skills learned years ago. For example, companies are increasingly farming out their customer service needs to individuals and online businesses. You can earn a nice salary fielding inbound inquiries and responding to requests. The best part is you can usually work whatever hours you like and have the freedom to work in a field with which you’re familiar.

Charitable activities

If you have a charitable inclination, you can find any number of ways online to help those who are less fortunate. Cooking Matters is a website that allows you to pass on your knowledge of cooking and shopping for healthful foods to families in need. Or you could teach writing skills to disadvantaged youths who need help with basic grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure.

Outdoor learning

There is no shortage to what you can learn online, so if you enjoy the outdoors and want to learn to garden like a pro or turn your landscape into a relaxing work of art, check out online guides that are specific to what you want to do. You can learn what goes into growing the largest, freshest tomatoes or the best soil combination to grow flowers, shrubs, and trees.

Making music

If you’ve always wanted to learn a musical instrument, there are many options online. You can learn to play through any number of sites, free or fee-based, on a wide range of instruments. Or you can go the old-fashioned route and sign up with a teacher. Before too long you could be having your own jam sessions with friends! If you’re looking to learn how to play an instrument, a clarinet is a great starter instrument. Click here to find the right clarinet for you.

A sense of achievement

The internet is a quick and convenient resource for seniors who want to learn just about anything. With a little time and patience, you can find activities and learning opportunities that are rewarding and give you a real sense of achievement. There are countless ways to grow personally, socially, and professionally.

Julie Morris,

Ms. Morris is a life and career coach who strives to help others live the best lives that they can. She believes she can relate to clients who feel run over by life because of her own experiences. She spent years in an unfulfilling career in finance before deciding to help people in other ways.

Photo Courtesy of Pixabay

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