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Seniors Beyond Age Eighty May Need Extra TLC to be Able to Enter the Cyber-world for Fun and Profit

Aug 17, 2007
Most of the present generation of seniors past the age of approximately 80 may not have had computers introduced into their work-lives. When that is the case, it may feel daunting to them to try to stretch into a new technology without any real foundation. Fear of failure can be a strong deterrent in attempting to learn something new plus having to commit strange data to a less and less reliable memory could put them off. Very few are initially comfortable alone in cyber-land.

Seniors who haven't experienced email often think that landline telephones and an occasional letter are good enough because they always have been. Most could profit from learning more about the beauty of instant delivery sans interruption. Family members and friends who have the patience can often present a whole new world to senior-seniors just by a short demonstration of what's available and how it works.

Beyond the obvious benefit of stimulating and informative email contact, seniors can learn that the web also provides the wisdom of Wikipedia, the buying and selling opportunities of Ebay and the pure entertainment of iTunes...to name a few of its strongest suits. To those who may be becoming less mobile, what a boon!

Offering assistance in selecting and setting up a computer can make the transition a lot easier. The reason this is often not done by family members is primarily due to the concern that time-consuming dependency may follow...often with good reason. However, there are many ways to approach the situation that can benefit everyone involved. Look into computer classes at a local Senior Center. It may be possible to attend along with the senior in question and to provide limited support after class. Volunteer teachers are often available through Senior Centers, too, plus major hardware distributors like Hewlett-Packard and Dell offer excellent tutorials.

One senior friend of mine went to a computer class "just because" and found it offered a very simple way to play her favorite card game, which happened to be Hearts. She immediately learned that she loved beating the computer and it wasn't long before she branched out into playing "live" games...all from her wheelchair at home. That was the door opener but it didn't stop there. She also found that questions could be answered quickly and easily on the web. It was a slow and sometimes painful transition for her but she now has her own, income-producing web site. She isn't super-smart but she is super-stubborn...a great asset in most cases!

Many Senior Retirement Communities now have shared computers and staff members willing to guide residents through the mysteries of the .com world. Tales abound regarding residents who were extremely reluctant at the beginning but who were quick to put up a howl when their server went down. The hew and cry they offered up was about feeling disconnected from those near and dear and there was no way the phone or "snail-mail" would suffice!

So, don't give up on the senior in your life when you get a negative response. Offer a peek at the cyber-world from the driver's seat in front of your own PC and see what you can produce that might be good bait. It's doubtful that there's a senior anywhere who, if they accept the challenge, won't ask them selves later how they ever lived without it.
About the Author
Luise Volta's life has included careers in nursing, teaching pre-school, interior design, Real Estate sales, insurance adjusting, and dairy herd testing. Visit for Aging Wisely.
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