Mindfulness as an Opportunity to Narrow the Grey Digital Divide

Mindfulness as an Opportunity to Narrow the Grey Digital Divide

Katherine Bercovitz (Harvard University, USA) and Francesco Pagnini (Harvard University, USA)
Copyright: © 2016 |Pages: 15
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-9986-1.ch009
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With older adults living longer than ever before, more in this age demographic are seeking ways to stay engaged, happy, and healthy in the final decades of life following retirement. In this chapter, we discuss the many ways in which older adults can benefit from learning new technologies, including enjoying more functional independence, social connection, and cognitive engagement. We also discuss the barriers that prevent older adults from learning new technologies, including physical ailment and disability, skepticism over the benefits, and stereotype threat. Finally, we introduce the concept of Langerian mindfulness and how learning to be mindful as opposed to mindless can help older adults over these barriers.
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The U.S. Bureau of the Census (2011) reported that between the years 2000 and 2010, the rate of growth for the nation’s 65-and-older sector surpassed the growth rate of the entire population. Similarly, in the European Union, the ratio of people above 65 years old to people between 15 and 64 years old is projected to increase from 25.4% to 53.5% between 2008 and 2060 (European Commission, 2009).

As a result, research has increasingly turned to improving well-being in later life, including investigations on how to preserve physical and cognitive functioning as well as psychological health (e.g., Cho, Martin, & Poon, 2014). This chapter will investigate some of the many ways technology can improve the lives of older adults and how a mindful approach can help this population overcome the barriers to technology usage.

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