Podcasts are prerecorded radio shows available online. While they’re not new, they’ve been gaining in popularity. As of 2017, 112 million Americans have listened to a podcast, an increase of 11% from the previous year.
The increasing popularity of podcasts is no surprise, considering the benefits they offer. According to Huffington Post, podcasts are a great way to:
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But are there physiological or psychological benefits to listening to podcasts for seniors? Emma Rodero, a communications professor at Pompeu Fabra University in Barcelona believes so. “She’s found that, like reading, listening to audio allows people to create their own versions of characters and scenes in the story. But she thinks listening, unlike looking at a written page, is more active, since the brain has to process the information at the pace it is played,” The Atlantic reports.
Because podcasts are not visual, listeners’ brains are engaged differently than when watching a movie or TV show or when reading a book. Listening to podcasts is particularly useful for seniors because it activates different areas of the brain in ways that are conducive to better brain health. Plus, since many podcasts are free, they’re an affordable way for seniors to spend their time.
But, podcasts cover every topic imaginable, so how do you find the right one for you? Start by searching based on your interests and passions.
To help you narrow down the choices, here’s a list of some popular podcasts for seniors that may hold more interest for older adults:
All podcasts are great mental stimulants – they keep you engaged and learning – but “Good Job, Brain!”takes it to another level. This podcast is an interactive quiz show that you can participate in by yourself, or with family and friends. The trivia covers just about everything, but unfortunately, new episodes are only posted about once a month.
“Lux Radio Theatre” is available from iTunes, but it was originally a radio show produced in the 1930s, 40s and 50s. The show adapted stage plays and even films for the radio and counts everyone from John Wayne to Judy Garland among its voice actors. If you miss old time radio then this is the podcast for you! Older seniors might even remember the show’s famous opening line: “Ladies and gentlemen, Lux presents Hollywood!”
“Planet Money” is a podcast that focuses only on the economy. Don’t worry, it is way more exciting than it sounds. As National Public Radio (NPR) says, “Imagine you could call up a friend and say, ‘Meet me at the bar and tell me what’s going on with the economy.’ Now imagine that’s actually a fun evening.” The podcast combines informative insights with wit and humor and is a great choice for anyone looking to stay informed on economic matters.
“This American Life” is one of the country’s most popular podcasts, likely because it covers such a wide range of subjects. Over 2.5 million Americans listen to the show on the radio every week and the show itself has been running since 1995 (so feel free to binge-listen because you won’t run out of episodes!). “This American Life’s” website even has a page dedicated to introducing new listeners to the podcast so we recommend that you start there!
“You Must Remember This” is perfect for anyone who loves the glam and – of course – gossip of Hollywood. The show’s website describes it as “a storytelling podcast about the secret and/or forgotten histories of Hollywood’s first century.” Guests on the show include a range of actors, journalists and screenwriters. Episodes cover everyone from Bela Lugosi and Ed Wood, to Frank Sinatra and of course, Marilyn Monroe.
These are just a few of the podcasts out there. For more podcasts check out these recommendations from AARP and Huffington Post, which include everything from “NPR’s Fresh Air” (which is sure to inspire you with new insights and ideas) to “The Allusionist: Small Adventures in Language” (British comedian Helen Zaltzman’s hilarious podcast on language and etymology).
Once you get used to the podcast format and start listening you’ll be able to find hundreds (if not thousands) of podcasts that are just waiting to be discovered. So, what are you waiting for?
Whether you’re a foodie, a history buff or a music lover – there’s a podcast out there for you.
What are your favorite podcasts for seniors? We’d like to hear more about your favorites in the comments below.