Things are looking up for the over-50 crowd. Mobile and other technology is knocking years off your age—that is, cognitive age.
It is a fact of life—our brains age right along with our knees and other body parts. A recent study offers information many already suspected—using smartphones, mobile apps and related technology helps us to think better and younger.
According to research published in the journal Intelligence, scientists analyzed data from individuals over 50 years of age in England and Germany. Part of the data represented the results of intelligence and cognitive tests given to 2000 people over age 50 in 2006, and to 3000 people aged 50 and up in 2012.
The population intelligence quotient (IQ) has been increasing for years. Improvements in lifestyle conditions, such as better nutrition, healthcare, and education, are leading to longer life and more active brains at older ages.
Study author Valeria Bordone noted, “In many cases 52-year-olds from 2006 had the same score as 60-year-olds from 2012. The levels of education hadn’t changed much among these two populations, but we could see that their use of computers and mobile phones had changed quite a bit.”
Staying on the learning curve with tech has never been easier. Activity that helps you, or a loved one, learn, understand, and connect keeps grey matter alert and curiosity alive.
Smart Resources for Smarter Seniors
Mobile minds need great devices. To start with, consider two smartphones highly rated by Consumer Reports for use by seniors:
- Apple iPhone 6: From general settings, you can adjust display and button sizes, to make your smartphone easier to navigate.
- Samsung Galaxy Note 4: Like the iPhone, this smartphone has a setting called easy mode, which makes it easy to use and see the apps you frequently use.
There are many apps of interest to users of all ages. Choose a topic that stimulates your mind, tracks your hobbies, or lets you follow breaking news. Research points to computer-based activities and apps to maintain and increase cognitive health, improve reflexes, and boost executive function.
Notes professor and vice chair at Emory University’s Department of Psychiatry, Nadine Kaslow, “We know that apps like Lumosity can improve memory, problem solving skills and processing speed, especially in older adults…Keeping your mind active is as important as physical exercise and these apps can help you stay fit mentally.”
Apps and tools to keep your mind moving include:
- Mobile devices: Smartphones and tablets not only have great content, but tools. Take, organize, and post pictures, write a blog, download and listen to your favorite music. Find a community and share. You can learn more about smartphone related issues from AARP.
- Multimedia: Connect with old and new friends through Google Hangouts, Skype, or Facetime. Make and post videos, find videos on YouTube and all over the web that spark your interest in people, places, pursuits—or do-it-yourself-projects.
- Luminosity: Advertised as personal training for your brain, Luminosity has games, labs, and tracking tools. Available with limited free access, and for a fee on the web, iOS, and Android.
- Neuronation: Another personalized brain training app designed to improve cognition.
- Google: Grab your device and use Google or other search engines to explore the world. Artwork, books, education, and training of all kinds are available with the swipe of your finger.
Whether you are over 50 or under, there is something new for you to learn via a mobile device—and it’s all right there at your fingertips.
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