Sites reflect rise in Web research by seniors

Topics: Older adults check on benefits, medical care and other vital topics online.

April 03, 2000

If you think Internet surfing is a sport dominated by the young, check again. People older than 50 make up the fastest-growing group of Internet users, says the American Association of Retired Persons, whose surveys show that millions of older adults have computers and use them regularly.

As cyber-seniors have increased in numbers, so have the number of Web sites and electronic newsletters featuring information on aging. These days, computer-savvy older adults have the latest information on everything from health issues and travel to finances and entertainment as close as their keyboards.

Here are a few of the newest:

As of last month, Social Security recipients can keep up with the latest changes in benefits and rules through a new electronic newsletter from the government.

Subscribers customize the information they receive in free monthly updates from the Social Security Administration. Retirees, for example, can choose to get news about benefits, including announcements of Social Security's annual cost-of-living raises.

The newsletter includes topics of interest to employees, such as pilot programs to test easier ways of reporting workers' wages to Social Security.

"We hope that beneficiaries, workers, employers and professionals who handle Social Security issues will find Social Security E-News useful and timely," said William Halter, Social Security deputy commissioner.

An e-mail address is all that is needed to receive the newsletter. Those interested can subscribe at the Social Security Administration's Internet site at www.ssa.gov.

The Internet can also be valuable for the millions whose vision is threatened by macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness in Americans older than 55.

The Macular Degeneration Help Center, www.MacD.net, contains details on tools and resources on age-related macular degeneration for patients, their families and older adults.

The site is updated frequently with the latest information on research, clinical trials and experimental treatments. A monthly newsletter contains interviews with professionals, stories from patients and the AMD Alert, highlights of news as it happens.

A new site, www.webofcare.com, offers practical information, animated caretaking demonstrations and online support groups to help home caregivers.

In addition, webofcare.com's "Ask the Expert" provides access to medical professionals who respond to questions in 48 hours.

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