Having access to a computer and the Internet is practically a must for most Americans. However among older individuals, there is often times an avoidance of computers and technology in general. Many seniors are intimidated by the technology or perhaps feel that even if they did learn to use it, there’s nothing of interest for them online.
When it comes down to it, senior citizens could probably benefit more from the Internet than any other age group. A fact that isn’t lost on many baby boomers and caregivers, who have become one of the fastest growing segments of Facebook.
The Internet opens up whole new worlds of communications with friends and families and provides access to an unending wealth of knowledge. Printed text, video, music, maps are just a few of the many media examples all available on the Internet and all free with a connection to the Internet. History, medical, maps, manuals, phone books, movies, music, games, auto, sports, travel, dating, you name it it’s on the Internet. Once online, seniors can find a number of websites and videos to help them with technology questions too.
Here are a few reasons some seniors have avoided the Internet:
Learning The Computer
With advances in computer technology and specialization, there are many great computer choices developed just for senior citizens.
Telikin (www.Telikin.com) has a computer designed to making using the computer and Internet very easy for older adults. This computer is a touch-screen stand alone computer. It is basically like a stand up lap top and can be set up in less than 5 minutes. Ranging in price from $699 – $999, the computers offer all the standard software, online help, tutorial videos and a “tech buddy system” that allows family members to access a computer remotely to help with any issues.
Another senior-friendly computer is the Chromebook, a product of Google’s partnership with Samsung and Acer. Starting at just $420, the 3G Chromebooks come with 100 MB of free Internet data per month (meaning they don’t require an Internet provider service).
HP’s Autopilot can be purchased as a desktop ( for approximately $1,125.00) or a laptop (for approx. $1,165.00) and has such handy programs as “OnTimeRx” medication, appointment reminder and high-contrast keyboard and mouse. The desktop version comes with a 17 inch monitor, mouse and color printer.
HP’s Vision Plus Model comes preconfigured with screen magnification software, a high visibility keyboard, an all-in-one printer and a scanner. The desktop retails for $1,255 for the desktop.
Reading a Screen VS Paper
It may take some adjusting to get used to reading a screen rather than paper, but once comfortable with the process, but the benefits certainly outweigh the drawbacks. Computer screens are brighter, the text is bigger and can be adjusted to almost any size. It also offers you the ability to have all of your reference books readily available neatly organized in one location.
20 years ago, many people never learned to type. With a mouse, many seniors find that the amount of typing required is minimal. Even when searching for information, by typing a few letters, the computer will auto populate. Along with spell checking, there’s far less typing required than most seniors imagine.
Using The Mouse
A few games of Solitaire is usually all it takes for a senior to be comfortable using a mouse. Most senior pick it up in less than an hour.
While the Internet may seem overwhelming at first, once the senior spends some time “exploring”, they will undoubtedly find a new and exciting world of entertainment, knowledge and social interaction. Being better connected, informed and engaged is always a good thing for seniors!