Computers for Seniors

laptop6fpoCan computers play a role in the lives of seniors, or are we “over the hill”? Should computers even be considered?

In this post I will look at why I believe that computers can play an important role in the lives of seniors.

Not all the same
Seniors are not a homogeneous group. Some have been using computers for most of their careers, while others have not touched a computer ever. But many seniors face common problems like loneliness and resulting depression.

The Advantages
Computers can do so many things that they can be useful for all seniors. We will list just a few:

  • Access to information at any time—weather, health, news, diet, finances.
  • Communication with friends and family, and virtual friends who share your interests.
  • Entertainment in the form of online movies, radio, eBooks, podcasts, chess, bridge, etc.
  • Online banking and purchasing.
  • Support for your hobbies, whether knitting, cooking, photography or the Internet of Things.
  • Gaming and other tools to enhance dexterity and mental agility.
  • Contribute your skills and experience through online mentoring.

The Challenges
There are several factors that prevent seniors from considering a computer:

  • Physical limitations like poor eyesight and limited hand dexterity.
  • Many fear using a computer as they are “sure to mess things up”.
  • Many don’t understand what computers can do for them so they don’t see the point.
  • Many have downsized so they have limited space in their accommodation.
  • Lack of funds.
  • Steep learning curve.

The Risks
There are risks to consider:

  • What if you actually “mess up” your computer, who do you turn to for help?
  • Scammers who take advantage of vulnerable seniors.
  • Excessive use may promote a sedentary lifestyle.

The Takeaway
The advantages that computers can provide are really quite compelling. The challenges and risks, while real, can be managed and mitigated.

Personally I am a senior who has grown up with computers as it were. I am also a computer instructor and have personally seen what a difference  computers can make in the lives of seniors.