Technology — Recent Pew Resarch study indicates more seniors using the Internet, Friendsview community seeing rising trend as well

Over the past five years there was been a significant increase in Internet use by folks over the age of 65, according to a recent study by the Pew Research Center termed “Older Adults and Their Technology Use.” The study found that 68 percent of Americans in their early 70s now go online.

That statistic hasn’t been lost on Frank Engle, marketing communications director at Friendsview Retirement Community in Newberg. He can attest that nearly 60 percent of people looking at Friendsview as a retirement option have done their research online.

Susan Niemeck and her sister Maggie Freese can attest to their use of the Internet to find a retirement community. Before moving into Friendsview, Niemeck lived in Sioux Falls, S.D., and Freese lived in Las Vegas.

After Neimeck’s husband died, she decided she wanted to live closer to family so when there was a point in her life she needed assistance they would be able to help.

Freese agreed that living close to family was important and that because of their shared beliefs finding a place they both could live out their later years was a good decision.

“I knew by the age of 70 I needed a place and wanted a place where all kinds of care will be provided. So, I began looking online; I got a list of facilities in the Portland area,” Niemeck said.

Freese initiated her search while in Zimbabwe, Africa, yet through the Internet she was able to express to her sister that living close to her grandson was a huge factor in determining a location.

After both women came for a visit at Friendsview, Niemeck said she felt all the online and printed material she read accurately expressed the environment of the facility.

They both moved into Friendsview in 2012.

More than 90 percent of seniors agree. Those surveyed by Pew said the Internet makes it much easier to find information today than in the past.

“One of our residents at Friendsview, before moving out from Nevada, watched a promotional video on the art classes offered nine times,” Engle said. “She really wanted to make sure she grasped the cultural involvement we could offer.”

To facilitate research, Friendsview now has a free computer lab and a student from George Fox University teaching the residents ways to use the Internet.

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