Touring Museums Virtually Could be Good For Your Health. Here's Why

Online interactions and virtual activities have been found to improve the social, physical and mental well-being of older adults, research finds.

A year ago, during the second wave of Covid, when we were still staying in, we shared a fun read of museums around the world you could tour online from your couch. We meant it as a joyous and manageable way to add a feel of culture and travel to your life when the world was still shut. Guess what? Now we have research that says touring museums virtually can be good for your health too! 

A new study in the research journal Frontiers in Medicine says one virtual excursion to the museum each week followed by a discussion could promote social involvement and improve older adults' physical and emotional wellbeing.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of Montreal, Canada. They investigated whether a three-month cycle of weekly virtual museum tours (Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in this case) increased feelings of social inclusion, wellbeing, quality of life and reduced physical weakness among older persons. 

The researchers chose two parallel groups of 106 senior citizens from Montreal, Canada, to participate in a randomised controlled study. Half of the participants attended weekly online museum visits followed by an informal discussion. In contrast, the other half did not engage in any museum or art-related discussion or activity before or during the three-month study period.

<b><i>Virtual visits and online interactions could be good for your health, science says.</i></b>
Virtual visits and online interactions could be good for your health, science says.

Wondering what happened next? Here's what the results showed. 

Compared to those who did not participate in the guided excursions, those who did observe enhanced feelings of social inclusion, wellbeing, and quality of life and lessened physical weakness.

"This study shows that with adequate infrastructure, age-friendly access and technical support, digital technology can benefit the mental health and wellbeing of older people, The Guardian quoted Prof Yang Hu of Lancaster University in a report on the study.

Surprised? We at Silver Talkies certainly aren't. Since we've gone virtual during the lockdown, our community members have stayed occupied attending art workshops, virtual classes, interactive online meetups, and many new and engaging activities. The result has been a lack of isolation, a chance to revive dormant hobbies, introduce a new skill in their lives and even new friendships for many of our community members! 

The Silver Talkies Community is a space created exclusively for 55+ adults. So whether you are a homemaker or a retired professional, an introvert or an extrovert, you will always find yourself in the company of like-minded individuals. To know more about the Silver Talkies Club and us, click here.

Covid-19 has made many older adults feel isolated. Going online, meeting people through workshops and classes and getting a chance to learn something new and informative has been a way to stay interactive for many older adults. We hope Covid-19 is on its way out, but as the University of Montreal study and our experience show, online activities and interactions for older adults are here to stay.

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Silver Talkies

Silver Talkies is a pioneering social enterprise on a mission since 2014 to make healthy and active ageing a desirable and viable goal for older adults. Their belief is that active ageing is the most promising and economical form of preventive healthcare and with an empowering and enabling environment, older adults can age gracefully and with dignity.

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Kasturi Nandagopal

Feb 3, 2023

Very nice and good article