Help Aging Parents: Computers For Seniors with 2015 Updates–Black Friday and Cyber Monday

November 2015: Most older people I know who have shunned computers in the past are happily and capably using an iPad or tablet. And not surprisingly 2-3-year-old grandkids run in and grab those iPads, quickly finding the kiddie games.That said, computers are a way of life for many, but not all. For the latter–

4 options worth looking at:

A-Plus Senior Computer: 2015 update-Check Cyber Monday Specials http://www.aplusseniorcomputer.com/

Big Screen Live: http://bigscreenlive.com/. “Software to turn a pc into an easy-to-use senior computer.” Click YouTube video:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ja_6VpxqUpc&feature=related for details. 2015 available from HSN: http://www.hsn.com/products/big-screen-live-computing-solution-software/6345429

Telikin: http://www.telikin.com/ 22″ large screen for seniors with vision issues– can read email out loud, has HD. 18″ most affordable, not HD, doesn’t read email.  All  3 models have virus protection and software preloaded into computer. Black Friday  2015 special on all–$100 off 22.” $75 off 18″ and laptop.

WOW! computer: www,mywowcomputer.com  easy to use with a touch screen (mouse pops up), can read out loud, linux virus protection, is updated daily. “Ready to go–just plug in after delivery.” Only sold through firstStreet.  2 month trial period. Nov. 22, 2015 SALE GOING ON:  $200 off reg price

In our efforts to help aging parents, a senior-friendly computer could be a most welcome gift.

 

Check out “Newsworthy” (right sidebar). Links to timely information and research from top universities and respected professionals, plus practical information–to help parents age well.
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Internet Enrichment for Seniors who are Capable of Using Computers (but don’t)

There is no one answer to why some capable, aging parents don’t use a computer–another resource that can help parents age well.  A few reasons were offered in the last post. More recent questioning of older people elicited:

Comfort Level Reasons

1.  Older people are satisfied with things the way they are. Why make problems if they’re happy with the status quo?
2.  They aren’t interested in learning anything new.
3.  Any initial interest in learning to use a computer is ultimately overruled by the necessity of disrupting one’s comfort level (which includes concerns about being able to learn and about internet security).
4.  When it involves “home,” they don’t want it “torn up.” Thoughts of making a hole in the wall for internet access is unnerving, whether in a home or in an apartment lacking internet accessibility.

Financial Reasons

1.  While the price of computers has clearly come down, they do cost money.
2.  Installing internet access costs money.
3.  Then there’s the monthly charge for internet access.

The above bears keeping in mind if you decide to plunge in and discuss getting a computer with your parents; as does the “keep it simple, stupid” rule. If it’s complicated, forget it. Which brings us to computers recommended in past posts, but with a different twist.
1.  Paw Paw http://pawpawmail.com/ The simplest technology-just email. But it does connect seniors to the outside world. A baby step towards the internet’s capabilities.
2.  A computer: Regardless of make or model, start simple.  Instruct how to E-mail, Google, Forward an e-mail, and Click on a forward, for example Live-Streaming (eg. the previously suggested link:http://www.livestream.com/nytnestcam , where viewing the baby red-tailed hawk and its parents is addictive and educational),  or YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jca_p_3FcWA&feature=related, where Susan Boyle’s 1st audition is thrilling. The latter two forwards highlight examples of the educational and musical potential.
3. The iPad: small, light-weight. Teaching parents the basics above, and selecting a few appropriate apps, gets parents started.  Once again check out Marti Weston’s blog and her 80-something-year-old dad’s experience after she gifted him with an iPad:http://asourparentsage.net/2010/12/03/holiday-gift-buying-an-ipad-for-your-senior-parent/#more-5951.

Father’s Day is June 19th.  Yet there are other excuses to gift capable parents with a computer, internet access, and some of your time to teach some basics. If siblings and others want to chip in, so much the better. Once aging parents get the hang of it, won’t they be entertained, connected, and possibly forever grateful?

Shouldn’t Mentally Capable, Aging Parents Have a Computer?

I attended a Woman’s Club program recently. The youngest attendees were in their 60’s. Most were aged 70-90.  Tea and desserts came after the program. We were seated at tables for four. Two of the women at my table were in their 80’s, one was 90–all widows, bright, alert, and with-it.  A lively discussion (aka argument), with conflicting “facts,” about Bin Laden’s killing and secrecy about Navy Seals’ activities was underway.

I asked if they used a computer.  One answered she used one until she retired, but hadn’t bothered to get one since. Why would these women need a computer? Why should they have a computer?

1.  We know using one’s mind is supposed to keep one mentally sharp (isn’t that why so many play bridge later in life?) and information about seemingly everything is a Google/Yahoo/Bing away.
2.  At the least, exposure to ideas and facts and learning new things adds interest to life.
3.  Adding interest to life keeps people engaged–whether interacting with the computer or with humans.
4.  Knowledge provides independence–great for aging parents; also great for adult children as it can take some responsibility off their shoulders.
5.  Opportunities for connections with others are many.  And connections with others is one of the three most important aspects of aging well according to reputable studies.
6.  Having fun is an important aspect of living and, if nothing else, people can play bridge and other games and enjoy concerts without ever leaving home.

R, at 97, has said many times that if she’d known at age 80 that she was going to live this long, she would have gotten a computer and learned how to use it.

That said, I have friends in their 60’s and 70’s who drive a car without hesitation but won’t use a computer.  Some have one in the house (their husband’s old one?) and access e-mail–when they think about it.  For anything else, they ask their husband or adult children to do it for them. Some smugly say they’d rather talk to a person on the phone; and/or write a letter….”not as impersonal” they think.

But is that fair–fair to impose on family members? –fair to themselves because they miss out on a lot?  Some of my high school classmates have died.  Most of us hear by email.  Yet a close h.s. friend who moved away “put her late husband’s computer in a box” when she moved and proudly says she hasn’t taken it out and doesn’t plan to. Friends can update her about news on the phone, she says. They forget. She’s often clueless. Yet there’s still a lot going on in her life so the consequences aren’t as glaring.

But in the aging population there’s often not that much going on.  So think connections, information, stimulation, fun.  A computer can add all that and more. By enriching older parents’ lives, we help them age well.