Laptops and desktop computers for senior citizens should be user-friendly and provide the tools seniors need to do research, send emails, and stay connected.
Seniors and Computer Use
Many seniors are hesitant to use computers and have a system in their home; however, with some education and assistance, computer use becomes much easier. Computers don't have to be a hassle or intimidating, and there are certain features that can make them more appealing. With computers being a major part of daily life for many people, including paying bills, talking to friends online, finding hobbies for seniors, checking emails, and even senior dating, having a computer at home can be very helpful.
First, it's important to weigh the options for computer use in general. These are the options:
- Desktops are less portable, but more durable. They offer more memory, larger screens, and are lower priced than laptops. Seniors will find that the mouse is easier to use than with a laptop and there are more options for keyboards.
- Laptops are portable and allow you to use the computer away from home. These days, they come with a built-in connection to use the Internet, but you will need to either have your own Internet provider or be in a location that offers wireless service. Laptops are lightweight, portable, and smaller in size. Just make sure the screen is large enough so that you can read from it.
- Netbooks or notebooks are even smaller than laptops and with less bells and whistles (and lower in price), but their tiny screens might make them difficult to view. These are designed mostly for going online and checking email, and are very portable.
Choosing an Operating System
There are currently operating systems for Windows-based computers and Mac computers. A computer from the store will already have a system installed, so the main choice is to decide between a Macintosh (also known as a Mac) or a Windows version (also known as a PC). There are pros and cons of both types. Since PC computers are used more often and may be more familiar to a senior, this option might be the better choice, and is usually lower in price. However, in the long run Macs are easier to use, tend to have nicer quality parts and clearer monitors, and more stable operating systems.
Computers for Senior Citizens
While there aren't many specific computers that are marketed for senior citizens, there are a few pointers that can help in the buying decision-making process.For seniors, things like price are probably at the top of the list, so consider buying a refurbished or used computer before buying new, but remember that the computer may have problems or break earlier than a new computer would have. There are also options for free computers for seniors to use, such as at the local public library. Most seniors won't need a large hard drive or anything too fancy. As a starting point, check out these brands and distributors:
- Go Computer: a company that sells a desktop PC system marketed for seniors.
- The Apple Store sells Macintosh computers and these systems are easy enough to use by a senior. You can visit an Apple store in person and try them for yourself.
- Dell, Toshiba, and Hewlett Packard all sell quality desktops and laptops at a fair price and also offer refurbished models.
Read The Seniors Guide to Computers for more pointers on how to choose the right computer for your budget, what you want to do with it, and how computer-savvy you already are.
Make sure that when you research computers for senior citizens that you know what you are paying for and it's not just a regular computer with a higher price tag. Read the fine print and make sure there is phone support and a caring staff on hand. Ask questions about all the features and benefits. If possible, have someone in your family who knows about computers, operating systems, and software check out the model for you and don't just rely on testimonials or sales tactics. Once you make an informed decision, you'll be on your way to using computers with ease.