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computers for seniors

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More and more seniors are getting computers. The best computer for a senior depends on price, ease of learning, warranty and technology support. How do we find out in the beginning what computer to purchase and where to go for it?

Posted by: Kathryn Harwood | November 18th, 2009

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Macintosh is the most user friendly of all, however, the price is high compared to PC's. Over the long run, though, that initial expense can be worth it; the Mac is much less susceptible to viruses, and other nasty invasions and can be upgraded again and again. I have a Mac iBook. It's several years old and very likely good for a few more years. I'd not have anything else. They can withstand a certain amount of abuse, too. The other day, I accidentally caught my foot in the cord and the computer fell off the beside table where I keep it and hit the floor. My heart sank. "Oh no! Now I'll have to get a new one. $1100.00 I can't afford." But the computer was just fine and continues to work perfectly.

Posted by: Tara | November 19th, 2009

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Other than the difference between Mac and PC computers are all pretty much the same. What is different is the hardware and the soft ware.Its just what it says Hardware is hard ,, ei printers scanners routers and the like. Soft ware is on a disc like small record even smaller than the old 45's ( that proves I'm a senior ) I think all seniors should get a computer. My sons wifes grandfather is in his 90's and enjoys his computer a lot. He has a FAcebook page along with the rest of us. Its a good way to keep in touch with family.I just bet within 6 months you will be wanting things to do with photography. It is wonderful Watch the sales If you are financially challenged you may have a grandson that will give you his old one. You can have them reformatted Means all his stuff is gone and you start over fresh. I just bet that soon computers will be a significant part of most seniors lives.

Posted by: Mary | December 11th, 2009

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I'm biased since I have always been a mac user. When I had to learn MS at my last job, I was tempted to swear at the computer more. It is a relief to not have the worry of viruses and spam. I agree that a refurbished computer might be a good idea as long as it isn't too old so that it can't use many applications. Computers for seniors has many advantages. Typing is sometimes a problem, but there are various keyboards to address vision issues. Does anyone use Google Earth? What other sites are good for seniors??

Posted by: Kathryn Harwood | December 18th, 2009

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I have a hearing problem and can no longer take classes or get involved with discussion groups, but I do want to keep my brain active. Online courses have been the answer and discussion groups like these. A good site for courses is: www.ed2go.com There are 6-week courses on all kinds of topics, including computers. " Discovering European Art & Architecture" was one I took and loved it. Next month I will be taking a creative writing course. Of course, there are University credit courses on line but I would not want the pressure involved.

Posted by: cindy | December 19th, 2009

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Women over 55 are the fastest growing demographic on Facebook' according to Justin Smith, founder of Inside Facebook. In addition, a recent study from the Pew Internet & American Life Project showed the biggest increase in Internet use since 2005 can be seen in the 70-75 year-old age group.

Its a trend Mimi Witcher is well aware of. 'I have seen first hand the benefits and joy learning about the computer and the Internet can bring to my senior students. Knowing how to send an email or make a comment on Facebook connects them with friends and family in a way that not knowing disconnects them. I started out nine years ago teaching 15 seniors in a classroom at a community college in Dallas, Texas. We were all a little intimidated. We didn't grow up with computers like our kids and grandkids. But we have come a long way in the last few years. More and more seniors are becoming computer savvy and loving it.'

Posted by: Kathryn Harwood | January 12th, 2010

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I truly enjoy my computer, would be lost without it. It keeps me connected with the outside world. Six months ago I bought a Dell desk top with a 24 inch monitor. I personally find pc's more user friendly.

Posted by: mej | January 14th, 2010

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Does anyone know anything about a sound activated keyboard?

Posted by: Kathryn Harwood | January 17th, 2010

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Learning to use your computer is like any other learning curve. Practice is a must. There will be mistakes and goof-ups. The printer will "do its own thing" and sometimes the computer will too. Usually because everything you press will have a result including the space bar. Important documents will fly off into cyberspace. Use the "search" tool on your computer. Buy a text for your operating system like "Windows for Dummies". Read it like your Bible: write in it, fold down the corners and leave it on your night table with the reading glasses. Be comfortable sitting at your computer.
Use "help" a lot. The computer is simply a tool, not "Hal" sitting on your desk.

Posted by: Kathryn Harwood | January 18th, 2010

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Hardware and Software
Common examples of hardware are printers and keyboard and a mouse. They are physical (or hard!) and you physically see and use them. What other hardware examples can you think of? Look around you right now and see if you can find any!
Software
Software examples are Internet Explorer, Safari or Microsoft Word. Another term used interchangeably is Program or Application. You can't really "see" it, it is digital.
In order to operate hardware, it needs to have software to function - the software contains the instructions for the hardware to operate properly - this software is called "driver". What other software programs can you think of? This should be easy as there are dozens you have installed on your computer right now!

Posted by: Kathryn Harwood | January 20th, 2010

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Excellent Books -about $15.00 in Tanner's Books in Sydney
"My Parents went Mac". and "My Parents First Computer Book"

Posted by: Kathryn Harwood | January 21st, 2010

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http://www.myparentsfirst.com/

Posted by: Kathryn Harwood | January 21st, 2010

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http://eldersurfbc.blogspot.com/

Posted by: Kathryn Harwood | January 23rd, 2010

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What is the most important reason that seniors want to learn to use a computer. Email the grandchildren? Exchange family photographs? Research the family tree?

Posted by: Kathryn Harwood | February 3rd, 2010

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Kathryn, I don't know what the most important reason is (different strokes for different folks, I guess. I learned because I wanted to become a writer), but I think seniors who want to learn to use a computer have open, enquiring minds. They are interested in learning new things.

Posted by: Wendy | February 4th, 2010

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What a great gift that we have the internet to maintain open enquiring minds.

Posted by: Kathryn Harwood | February 7th, 2010

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Yes, Kathryn, and as we get older, it saves so much of our time and energy. I use the Internet to check bus/train/ferry schedules and prices (even in far off countries), and book our holiday accommodation. Last year, I was able to arrange a big and very successful family party for my mother in England -- venue, food, invitations -- everything, on the computer. Amazing! Sometimes we complain about advanced technology and the distracting effect it's having on the younger generation, but we are fortunate indeed to enjoy its privileges.

Posted by: Wendy | February 7th, 2010

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I went on the internet 10 years ago because my son told me that I was too old to learn anything new and complicated,I love it,book airline tickets,keep in touch with kids and grandkids all over the world and look up information on any subject that I want to learn.Too old indeed!

Posted by: Audrey | February 7th, 2010

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Two of my children earn their living with computers-software design and graphics designer.
I have to keep up! They respect me for it and actually suggested that I teach other seniors. I'm waiting to Skype with my granddaughter who is 3.5. So wonderful that I can talk with her 3,000 miles away.........

Posted by: Kathryn Harwood | February 15th, 2010

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Interesting Idea: Found in the News:
"Computer workshops are offered once a month in the Middle School computer lab, where students are paired up with senior citizens to work one-on-one. Each workshop begins with students discussing with the seniors what computer skills they most want to learn or improve upon. For some seniors, the S.A.I.L. workshops are their first experience with computer technology."

Posted by: Kathryn Harwood | February 15th, 2010

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"Lots of research has shown that when children and adults believe their intelligence is fixed (e.g., "I don't have a brain for computers", or "My mind doesn't do numbers"), they tend to avoid learning situations that might "expose" them as inadequate, give up when confronted with learning challenges, and ultimately have poorer performance than others who have the other mindset-the growth mindset. When people have the growth mindset, they believe that their intelligence and ability to learn is a matter of effort.They accept new learning challenges, maintain motivation in the midst of learning challenges, and ultimately have better performance outcomes and scores than people with the fixed mindset."

Posted by: Kathryn Harwood | February 17th, 2010

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My very dear and beloved sister-in-law refused to contemplate using a computer - she said she was scared of catching a virus. We have never stopped teasing her. I Skype friends (one an old and close school friend) and relatives, including my children, in Australia, England, Italy as well as across Canada. So great to see many faces I havent seen since the 'Middle Ages' - though when I hear that phone ring, I have to check the mirror before answering. Thank goodness we "old dears" are alive and experiencing the Electronic Age.

Posted by: cynthia | February 17th, 2010

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What a gift for us "old dears". The electronic age. I like thinking about old songs whose lyrics I could never figure out. You can just type the name of the song or maybe a line with "lyrics" and you can find the words. Sometimes you can see the song performed on utube.

Posted by: Kathryn Harwood | February 18th, 2010

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Ten good sites for seniors: Videos are very funny.
http://hubpages.com/hub/Websites-For-Seniors

Posted by: Kathryn Harwood | February 22nd, 2010

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Computers are too fascinating for me so I choose to go to our local library and use the ones there.I have 1 hour a day and can control how much I want the electronic age to be a part of my life.The service is free and they also have classes for seniors.Any technical stuff I want done,like posters etc,my best friend is a computer nerd and she is at my beck and call.What a great relationship.

Posted by: Eleanor Wells | March 1st, 2010

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What a great idea. You aren't tempted to be online in the wee hours like I am! And great to have a nerd for a good friend. I help friends a lot.........

Posted by: Kathryn Harwood | March 3rd, 2010

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http://www.thevillager.com/villager_367/thrive/moneygame.html

Posted by: Kathryn Harwood | March 4th, 2010

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Did you wonder what CC and BCC mean under to "send to" part at the top of your email?
CC is for Carbon Copy -meaning you can send a copy to someone besides the main "send to"
BCC is for Blind Carbon Copy meaning you can send a copy but the main "send to" person can't see it. Often used for multiples.

Posted by: kathryn Harwood | March 8th, 2010

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A virtual seniors centre:
http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/virtual-senior-center-connects-homebound-seniors-to-community-and-family-87225917.html

Posted by: kathryn Harwood | March 11th, 2010

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New York and other cities are working with Microsoft to bring computers, Webcams, and other high-tech gear to the homebound elderly. At no cost to themselves, participants received new in-home desktop computers running Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system, touch-screen monitors, and broadband Internet service worth about $20,000.

http://www.mobile-tech-today.com/story.xhtml?story_id=102002J7P27I

Posted by: Kathryn Harwood | March 25th, 2010

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I arrived in Canada in 1958 and have recently been able to find family members on Facebook, such as a cousin, a nephew and 3 nieces all in Holland. It is fun to renew contacts and I also
have joind the Dutch Koffie Klub here and have relearned the Dutch language. Even am communicating with a Dutch widow who lives in New York (never knew here) And all this due
to getting on the Internet. Am learning by trial and error. Usually am on every day.

Posted by: Joey Milliken | March 30th, 2010

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Hi Joey, I'm still learning by trial and error as well. I lurk on Facebook where I see what my family and friends are doing. In the past 6 months I have connected with 5 high school buddies and we're all delighted to see that we are just great, thanks! I have a new eldersurf client who I have convinced that the $1000.00 + for a new macbook will be well worth it.

Posted by: Kathryn Harwood | April 2nd, 2010

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If you don't like a lot of icons on your desktop, create a new folder and label it "Desktop Items".
Put all the icons in there. Voila, you have one folder!

Posted by: Kathryn Harwood | April 2nd, 2010

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The computer Age seen by a Senior:
http://www.associatedcontent.com/article/2569983/the_new_computer_age_as_seen_by_a_senior.html?cat=15

Posted by: Kathryn Harwood | April 2nd, 2010

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A new potential client lives on a sailboat. Hmmm. What are the issues for purchasing a computer?
It has to be small and able to connect to wireless internet. You might need a few memory keys. Are there problems with water and salt air?
It seems that you might store the computer in a waterproof case and after doing a search, finding Livingaboard magazine,I found some suggestions, like:

"In the laptop case I would put a little baggie of those moisture absorbing pellets, most camping/marine stores sell them to help keep down the moisture level when its not being used...I do that with my digital camera."
http://www.livingaboard.com/

Posted by: Kathryn Harwood | April 4th, 2010

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Check out:

http://www.gwcommonwealth.com/articles/2010/03/28/lifestyle/features/03282010life1.txt

Posted by: Kathryn Harwood | April 6th, 2010

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The computer is a tool. It isn't smart. In fact it's really stupid.
It has to be told exactly what to do - all the time. It can't read your mind. It's not Hal.
It doesn't know that you want that file saved-or where-you have to tell it. It tries to have automatic tasks, but you have to set it up and check that it does it.

Posted by: Kathryn Harwood | April 6th, 2010

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Just came across this site and enjoyed reading it very much.

Have recently purchased an Apple. I wonder if there is a group for seniors learning Apples.

You mentioned middle schools having a one-on-one, I phoned two schools nearby but they have not heard of a program like that. Do you know where there might be one?

Thank you!

Posted by: barb | April 6th, 2010

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SoHo Computers have a techy that will come to your home. I don't know if they have a group tutorial. Check my blog site: http://eldersurfbc.blogspot.com
Some libraries have group lessons. Maybe we should start a group. I'm a senior (elder) and a mac person

Posted by: Kathryn Harwood | April 7th, 2010

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Problem to solve:
http://believingintheimpossible.com

Posted by: Maria | April 30th, 2010

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Computer and Internet
AARP Computers and Technology www.aarp.org/learntech/computers
Computers Made Easy for Seniors www.csuchico.edu/~csu/seniors/computing2.html
CyberSeniors.org www.cyberseniors.org
EnableMart www.enablemart.com
Generations Online www.generationsonline.com
Learn The Net www.learnthenet.com
Microsoft Accessibility www.microsoft.com/enable
SeniorNet www.seniornet.org
WebEyes www.webeyes.us

Posted by: Kathryn Harwood | May 17th, 2010

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It's a good idea to recycle your empty ink containers from your printer. Some companies give you a discount on new ink-and it's better for the environment. A win-win situation.

Posted by: Kathryn | June 2nd, 2010

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nill

Posted by: cClevelandSator | June 23rd, 2010

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Sittin' in Starbuck's, connected to their WiFi, Sippin' a vanilla latte, writing haiku, balancing my bank stuff, people watching, looking for potential eldersurfers. Lotsa noise! Now I remember that this is why I bought a laptop in the first place.......
What is a chocolate chip frappuccino anyway?

Posted by: Kathryn | August 22nd, 2010

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Helping seniors stay in closer, visual contact, with their remote living children, grandchildren, siblings, other relatives and friends has been the subject of recent studies. As the overall population ages, social isolation is emerging as a major issue because of the adverse impact it can have on health and well being4. Participants in a study of videophone technology at long-term care facilities were enthusiastic about the benefits, as visual contact emphasized a sense of closeness, more family interaction, and reduced feelings of guilt and isolation.5 Web postings on reducing seniors' loneliness encourage seniors to stay connected on-line via email, picture sharing, and video chats.

Posted by: Kathryn Harwood | August 26th, 2010

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I called SoHo Computers but their help consists of a lady who charges $50.00 or $60.00 per hour.The libraries only have PC computers. Will phone around more schools, have't been successful there yet either. It is maddening because there are lessons and workshops available in most cities but not Victoria.
Enjoy this article very much.

Posted by: barb | November 3rd, 2010

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I was 80 when I got my first handed down computer. This started me on my Family Tree research which I have been doing now for the last eight years. I find this fascinating and would recommend it to anyone to keep their brain active in their later years. I would also like to know if anyone can recommend an honest and reliable technician who can help out on some small problems that inevitablt arise from time to time.

Posted by: Sherri | November 4th, 2010

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I have just returned home from a free seminar put on by Simply Computing & Cameras on Quadra St. The instructor, John Giles, was so easy to understand and helpful.
Would advise anyone interested in purchasing an Apple to definitely go there.
I wouldn't dream on buying anywhere else. I am not related, just happily impressed!! Wish I had known about them before.

Posted by: barb | December 15th, 2010

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Still here. So many people switching from PC's to macs. I found a new book called "Switching" for those smart people who made the switch. The more senior computer users I see, the more I am convinced that mac is the way to go. So much more user friendly. My clients who are mac users have fun, learn and have fewer fears especially about security. I do get referrals from SoHo. Two hours means a lot of learning and is usually enough.

Posted by: Kathryn Harwood | March 14th, 2011

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Kathryn, are you advertising in this podium?

Posted by: cyndy | April 5th, 2011

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I have seen many seniors struggling with operating gadgets, specially computers, so I think the computer should be convinient to use, and nothing beats windows xp when it comes to ease of use.

Posted by: sjunaidali | April 16th, 2011

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i Firmly believe that there should be special classes for senior persons, this link my help especially to keep your system clean and smooth running. http://drherbie.1clickfix.hop.clickbank.net/?mode=speeduppc

Posted by: Andre John | May 9th, 2011

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Have no fear of computers.At West Vancouver Seniors Centre our Lifetime Member Fred is 98
and does a lot of computing, accounting, posters , etc and works 9 -4 for 5 days a week.

Posted by: Stan Ward | May 13th, 2011

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Computers can be intimidating. I have no problem doing email or facebook but know little about many of the other things which would come in handy like copy and paste, etc;

Posted by: Regina | August 8th, 2011

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Computers can be intimidating. I have no problem doing email or facebook but know little about many of the other things which would come in handy like copy and paste, etc;

Posted by: Regina | August 8th, 2011

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I am no computer whizz, Regina, but copy and paste is easy to learn. Just highlight the words you want to copy (left click on mouse, holding it down while you highlight what you want to copy. It should highlight in black). Open Edit box (top left of your screen), and click copy. Click once to remove highlight, then move cursor to where you want to paste, click once, and then click Paste in the Edit box. Good luck! Let me know if you still have problems.

Posted by: Wendy | August 19th, 2011

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This a good site if you need answers to computer problems: help2go.com
It is run by volunteers around the world and it's free. Just register with a user name and password. Type your question in the relevant spot and very quickly (usually within a day) you will get an answer. Plus you can get information and tips from other's questions and answers and the tutorials. A great site for computer help whether you are a beginner or a nerd..

Posted by: cindy | November 19th, 2011

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its a nice article for older or senior citizen for nice living and work.

thanks
Joseph rettig
http://exerciseseniorcitizens.com/

Posted by: josephy rettig | January 29th, 2012

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I would urge those who are looking for an easy-to-use computer to check out the Telikin ā€“ www.telikin.com/3399 ā€“ a touchscreen computer designed specifically for seniors. It comes with a keyboard and mouse, but many users find they never need to take them out of the box. My 91-year-old mother and 87-year-old mother-in-law use their Telikins daily to surf the Web, e-mail, share photos, video chat, write journals, play games, watch DVDs, and more. The purchase price of $699 includes free shipping, 60 days of free US-based telephone support, and free software upgrades for life. Iā€™d be happy to share my experience with others who are thinking about purchasing one of these extraordinary computers for their parents, or for themselves. 321hunter@comcast.net.

Posted by: David Hunter | February 1st, 2012

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I'm wondering if I am the only one who after purchasing an Xbox is having difficulty learning how to use it. I am not a gamer, I want to use it for Facebook (much easier to see on the TV). I also want to use the video calling feature, but I am not having much luck.

Posted by: Moira Tait | April 12th, 2012

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This is an age friendly resource for free help with your computer issues - everyone welcome. http://hamiltoncompute.blogspot.ca/

Posted by: Doug | August 25th, 2012

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I see someone mentioned a touchscreen computer, and these are excellent alternatives to a computer. Tablets, like the iPad, are great as well. They're lightweight, portable and just as powerful as most computers. There are also a number of applications on the iPad that are designed just for seniors. http://rescuealertofca.com/the-5-must-have-senior-apps

Posted by: Kristin Palardy | September 26th, 2012

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