Don’t Let The Written Word Become a Lost Art

January 25, 2021 • Fenny Peiffer


I was scheduling a follow-up appointment for a distinguished older gentleman, and when I asked if he’d like me to write up a reminder card, he said no thanks I’ll put it in my phone. It’s strange to think that putting pen to paper, and composing a letter, or handwriting something on the calendar is considered the “old-fashioned” way to communicate in an age where even seniors are going paperless. Remember learning cursive in school, and taking such care to dot your I’s and cross your T’s? The dawn of email, text messages, and voice dictation has almost made post-it notes and stationery a thing of the past.

As efficient as modern technology is to track everything from calories to Aunt Mabel’s birthday, the act of writing something down may allow you to better retain information than stellar keyboard skills according to a research article published by the Association For Psychological Science. A study performed on Princeton University students evaluated participants based on a group taking handwritten notes vs. the other using a laptop. They found the students who took their notes on paper demonstrated a better comprehension of the material despite taking down less information than their computer counterparts.

The physical act of handwriting requires concentration, and fine motor skills which is especially beneficial for senior citizens to maintain cognition, and hand-eye coordination. Forming words on paper is a tangible activity that requires you to think about the content, and makes the brain accountable for the information being documented. Typing as convenient as it is, doesn’t require the same patience as it’s often done with great speed, and results in instant gratification.

From a personal standpoint, receiving a postcard or letter in the mail is much more sentimental than logging into an email account. The time spent writing to someone without spell check or emoticons also displays unique writing styles, and gives the recipient something to keep. It’s so much nicer to find a brightly colored envelope with a handwritten address, and stamp amongst the mailbox clutter, and shows someone cared enough to drop you a note.

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