For seniors, using a computer is more than just a fun activity or time-saver: It's also a way to keep their minds sharp and bodies strong. Operating a computer requires tactical and mental exercise, which can improve seniors' memory and lower their "mental age." The use of computers can offer other advantages, too: It can boost mood and even improve longevity.
Start by understanding your computer's hardware. Familiarize yourself with your computer's basic components, and learn how to use important peripherals like your keyboard, mouse, and printer. Take advantage of online tutorials that can help you become accustomed with using each. Brush up on the basics, such as pointing, clicking, and double-clicking with your mouse, opening and closing files, learning how to copy and paste, and adopting proper posture and hand position for ergonomic typing. If you have a disability that makes using a computer challenging, take advantage of its accessibility features; these features can modify the screen display and keyboard functions to accommodate people with vision problems, hearing loss, mobility issues, learning difficulties, or neurodivergent diagnoses.
Logging onto the Internet can open up entire worlds. With an Internet connection, you can pay bills online, relieve stress by playing games, socialize by joining social networks, improve your hand-eye coordination, and increase your brain power by learning new things. Always research the websites that you visit to ensure that they're legitimate and present accurate information. Vet anyone you interact with, and refuse to offer any of your personal information, such as your full name, birthday, address, phone number, or Social Security number.
Protect yourself while using your computer, and be aware of certain hardware issues and Internet-based threats that can affect you. Learn about common phishing scams that can appear in your email inbox. Avoid clicking on offers on the Internet that seem too good to be true. Install antivirus software with great reviews that provides you with free, automatic updates, use secure passwords comprised of random letters and numbers, and turn on any security options, like firewalls, that your computer features. If you protect yourself online, you can reduce the possibility that you'll fall victim to identity theft and other nefarious scams aimed at seniors.
Visit the following links to get more computer help:
- How Computer Use Sharpens the Mind
- Internet Use Stimulates Brain Function in Seniors
- Just How Does a Computer Work? (PDF)
- Overview of Computer Skills
- A Basic Guide to Using a Computer (PDF)
- Learn to Type and Use a Computer Keyboard and Mouse (PDF)
- Exercise Your Mouse Skills
- Basic Computer Skills
- Making Computer Use Easier for Elders
- Getting Online One Click at a Time (PDF)
- Senior Guide to Online Safety
- Internet Safety for Seniors
- Using Computers to Enhance the Lives of Those With Aphasia (PDF)