May 6, 2010

USA:Survey reveals tech-savvy elderly

NEW YORK, NY / New York Daily News / Life Style / May 6, 2010

By Oren Yaniv, Daily News Staff Writer

OMG, gr8-grandmas cn txt!

Today's centenarians are increasingly tech-savvy, with growing numbers of the elderly using instant messages, iPods and the Web, according to a survey by Evercare.

Among active Americans who are 100 or older, 8% have sent a text message - an eightfold surge from just two years ago, the study said. More than one in 10 of the superseniors have watched a YouTube video, and 12% have listened to music on an iPod or a similar MP3 player, triple the figure from three years ago.

An older woman checks out a satellite dish at a yard sale. A recent survey shows centenarians are texting and Web surfing, too. Murphy/Getty

"Staying connected to a social group is vitally important in old age," said Dr. Mark Leenay, a senior vice president at UnitedHealthcare, the insurance company that offers Evercare health plans. "It's one of the most important things for them."

Indeed, 82% of the 100 centenarians polled in the annual "snapshot survey" said they communicate with a friend or family member on a daily basis.

A total of 27% said they use some sort of newfangled, 21st century invention, such as a TiVo, Facebook or Wii Fit.

About 84,000 people in their 100s live in the U.S., according to census figures - more than 4,070 of them in New York State.

And as new gadgets permeate society, they're gradually being utilized by this eldest generation.

"They are increasingly using technology," Leenay said of the 100-plus set. "They are connected to pop culture."

Centenarians are so current that the person most survey respondents - 57% - said they want to have dinner with will host the next episode of "Saturday Night Live."

That would be actress Betty White, who, after an online campaign, is set to become the oldest person to ever host the show - and she's a mere 88 years old. [rc]

Oren Yaniv

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