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Tips for caregivers: using computers

For much of the world, computers are a necessity in everyday life. But for our older loved ones, computers can provoke anxiety, hostility and resistance. To some older adults, learning how to use a computer can seem like a very daunting task, but there are benefits to embracing the technology and using the computer. Here are some helpful tips to get them started:

  1. Share with your loved one of the benefits of using the computer. Email is a great way to communicate with the people they care about, especially if they live far away. Skype and other video messaging services provide an easy, inexpensive way for your loved one to see the people they love face-to-face. Facebook and other social media platforms can help them stay connected to family and community...and see photos of the grandkids!

  2. If your loved one has trouble getting around, encourage them to try online shopping. Online shopping alleviates the need for them to go through the hassle of getting out to the store. Your loved one can purchase anything from groceries to clothes online. Just make sure that your loved one knows how to spot a scam and doesn't give their credit card information to any illegal or suspicious sites.

  3. Buy a senior friendly computer for your loved one. Touch screen computers are helpful for seniors to navigate. Also consider getting a keyboard with extra-large keys and a light-weight mouse with multiple buttons and a scroll wheel. You may want to consider getting your loved one a tablet. They are very light-weight and easy for your loved one to carry.

  4. If you don't feel equipped to teach your loved one to use the computer, implore the help of grandchildren. They'll be able to show your loved one all the basics of computer use, plus it's a good bonding activity. Your local senior center or public library may also offer computer classes; check them out if no grandkids are nearby.

    A version of this article appeared in the Private Health News.