Technology Tips

3 Tips for Helping the Elderly Use Computers

We have moved quickly from the release of the very large first personal computer, to super advanced machines that are more transportable than a book. How is an elder supposed to keep up with this rate of change? Do not worry, the technology lingo and hype you hear these days is not important to most people. There are still preparations that you can take to ensure that the computer is simple, yet still very beneficial.

1. It may help to make the screen larger for the elder, if they have trouble seeing it. Simple steps can be taken to increase icon size, window size and the size of the text displayed on the screen. For more information on how to make specific features of your PC larger, click this link.

2. If you are the person setting the computer up in the home or you know the person that is, tell them to just keep it simple. Computers are as complicated as we want them to be, or perceive them to be. To do this, ask the elder what he or she wants to do on the computer and delete all of icons that do not accomplish this task by dragging them into the recycle bin. Do not uninstall the programs unless you are a computer professional, as this may have unintended consequences.

3. Is there virus protection software on the PC and is it up-to-date? Alerts should notify you if there is not, a red or yellow alert button will be located on the bottom of the screen near the start button. If there is a red alert button, stating that your ant-virus is not active or you believe that there is no anti-virus software on your computer, follow the URL below to get Microsoft’s free virus removal software. 

Popular iPad Apps for Seniors

We presented earlier on a post about caring for the elderly, the top devices for seniors. While many elders do not enjoy using technology, it helps to simplify other elders’ lives or enables them to overcome challenges. If the senior does not want to adopt technology, do not force them to use it. When sharing activities with seniors, you may introduce technology to them, but some people still prefer methods that are more familiar. The IPad is one of the devices presented, that may be enjoyed by some seniors.

The IPad is becoming a popular device with many seniors because of its simplicity and functionality. Some seniors use it as reading device to enlarge the text of their favorite books, others watch television programs with headphones to help with hearing problems. Here are some of the top IPad apps for seniors:

 ABC: The television network ABC has many programs that are available on the IPad application.

Netflix: This is only available for people who have a subscription to the Netflix service, enabling the user to access a limited availability of movies instantly on the IPad.

NPR: Has music, news and videos from National Public Radio (NPR), enabling the senior to read articles and access public radio stations in the United States.

iBooks: Turns the IPad into a E-Reader, enabling seniors to purchase and read books instantly by downloading them from their device. Classic books by authors like Herman Melville, Charles Dickens and Jane Austen are usually accessible at no cost.

Google Earth: An interactive world map that enables anyone to zoom in or out to just about anywhere on the planet using satellite imagery. It is like having a powerful  and easy to use telescope in space.

Zinio: Provides articles from top magazines for free. The magazine publishers want to distribute free articles to interest the reader to buy them, but seniors can still enjoy a variety of great articles at no cost.

The Weather Channel: Has information on local weather including daily temperatures, forecasts and even weather radars to detect potential storms.

Epicurious: Enables seniors to search for recipes and their ingredients. It also helps them to make a shopping list and find recipes for foods that they already enjoy. Cooking is a great activity for volunteer caregivers and seniors  to enjoy.

Pandora: Has stations for many genres of music that also introduces seniors to new music artists.