Helping Seniors With Technology
A few weeks ago we shared a post that recommended the best laptops for seniors and non-digital natives, and while researching the topic, a couple other questions arose: What are some electronic devices that can help seniors live independently, and what are resources to help them learn how to use computers and electronics?
So, in the first section of this article, we present a list of electronics that many independent seniors use, and following that are suggestions for finding educational resources (free and fee-based).
What Are the Best Electronics Devices for Senior Living?
Computers can improve your life by keeping you informed and connected. Admittedly, picking the right device can be overwhelming. However, if you’re wondering which are the ideal computers for seniors, you have a few types to consider. What you want to do with the device, along with your space and budget, will help determine which is best for you.
Desktop computer recommendations for seniors
A desktop computer typically requires several components such as a monitor, mouse, keyboard, and a tower that houses the computer hardware. With that said, “all-in-one” computers combine the computer hardware and monitor, eliminating the need for a tower, making it an ideal choice for smaller workspaces.
An advantage of desktops over laptops is that you tend to have a larger screen, which is great because as we age — and it happens to all of us — seeing small typography can be difficult on smaller devices. So, it’s nice to have a desktop computer at home.
Still thinking about a laptop because of its portability? We get it! Read our recommendations for Best User-Friendly Laptops.
Tablet recommendations for seniors
A tablet is a portable computer that is usually smaller than a laptop and has a camera in the front (and some in the back) for taking photos and a battery that, once charged, can last for hours. Tablets don’t come with keyboards and everything you do is driven by a touch-screen; however, you can buy keyboard accessories if you want to use a tablet as a mini-computer.
Tablets are highly portable, lightweight, and ideal for watching movies, reading books, checking email, and playing games. No matter what your level of technical savviness is, we recommend that you get the same operating system (OS) for your tablet as you have for your smartphone.
Smartphones for seniors
If you’re looking for a first-time smartphone for someone — say your grandfather who’s finally relinquishing his flip phone — and you want to ease them into the smartphone technology, start with something they’re familiar with. If they’ve used Windows computers, then they might find Android-based smartphones easier to use. Ideally, you should set up a time to visit your mobile phone provider’s store so you can try out the phones.
Smart devices for independent living
Smart devices like the Amazon Echo have been helping seniors live independently, and they come with apps that help keep older adults connected with their families and care providers. Learn more about how the Amazon Echo is helping seniors age in place.
Where Can I Find Computer Basics For Seniors?
For various how-to books on using different technologies, check your local libraries. Some books, such as “For Dummies” and “Visual Steps” series, provide simple to follow instructions. You can also find hands-on technology help for seniors through local classes or workshops at community learning centers. You could reach out to your children or other tech-savvy family members for support; however, you may find their willingness to help over time wanes.
If you prefer to learn about senior computing at home and want online sources for helping seniors with technology, you have a world of choices, from free to fee-based.
Free Online Computer Learning
The Goodwill Community Foundation, Inc. website has over 2,000 lessons covering 180+ topics. With an online classroom, you can learn how to use Microsoft Office, email, and social media. The easy-to-understand tutorials use video, graphics, animations, and diagrams, complete with step-by-step instructions.
Meganga offers videos that teach everything from learning the parts of a computer to surfing the web, setting up an email account, and using social media.
This website provides a program that teaches simple computer skills with easy-to-understand tutorials. Skillful Senior further offers guides on tech topics, including the internet for seniors and how technology can improve the lives of seniors.
TechBoomers has over 100 courses that can show you technology basics, how to shop online, and how to use popular websites, such as Facebook, Amazon, YouTube, and more.
Fee-Based Online Learning
Although there are many free online resources for learning computer basics, fee-based options may cover topics more in-depth from an experienced instructor. Udemy, a premier online learning site with over 40 million students, offers over 183,000 courses on topics that run the gamut, including beginner and senior computer users. Although each course and its content are unique, courses typically offer lectures, tutorials, videos, and quizzes. Here are a few classes you may find helpful:
- Computer Basics For Seniors: The Easy Way To Learn Computers
- Computer Basics for the Simple Beginner
- Introduction to Computer Networks for Non-Techies
You can find community colleges and universities that offer beginner’s courses in technology as well. Many may offer scholarships or financial aid to help with tuition.
Navigating a computer can be challenging. However, OneLaunch, a free Windows desktop toolbar application, combines a host of features, widgets, and applications all in one place to make completing online tasks easier. Whether you’re a beginner, young or old, just learning the ropes of the digital world, you’ll find OneLaunch features like its powerful browsing tool, custom widgets that bring the latest time, weather, and news to your screen, and other applications, like calculators, package tracking, email, shopping, dictionary, and thesaurus, provide a simplistic and convenient way to experience your Windows computer. Learn how OneLaunch can help you.