Get mom or dad online with an easy computer system

Several years ago, my 80-something in-laws, who had never used a computer before, mentioned they were thinking of getting online. They’d heard friends talk about emailing the grandkids or self-diagnosing the odd ache or pain on medical websites and they wanted to get on the bandwagon. We, their tech-savvy children and grandchildren, thought it was a great idea so for Christmas that year, we gave them a computer fully loaded with RAM, ROM and all the software programs we liked to use.

That’s when the trouble began.

Despite being an intelligent pair, they found the learning curve steep. Things like double-clicking an icon (or finding the right icon in the first place) were challenging. It was frustrating when the computer crashed or they lost files they were sure they’d saved. And more often than not, family visits to grandma turned into computer support sessions with grandma.

Healthier and happier
My in-laws stuck with it and were able to reap the benefits that come from being online. Connected individuals are healthier and happier than their non-Internet using counterparts. Those who connect with family, friends and the wider community via email and the Internet are less likely to suffer from depression. Age-related dementia can be slowed, and possibly reversed, when seniors take advantage of computer-based brain-fitness games. Self-esteem goes up when individuals learn something new.

New, easier options
Fortunately, it no longer has to be a challenge. Today there are hardware and software options that have been developed specifically for seniors. The You Can Do It Computer and Go Computer systems are two senior computer options that bundle proprietary hardware with easy-to-use software.

Here’s a quick comparison:

You Can Do It Computer GO Computer
Features Email, Internet browsing, photos, games Email, Internet browsing, photos, games, basic word processing
Cost Wide Screen Easy Computer - $839

Touch Screen Easiest Computer - $1299

(US $)
$949 plus $19.95/month for GO`s ``Worry Free Guarantee`` service plan

(US $)
Customer Support Lifetime customer service assistance Available Monday to Friday, 7 am to 7 pm

Check out these videos of the You Can Do It Computer and GO Computer before you shop:

You Can Do It Computer
GO Computer

If you’ve already got the hardware and are just looking for a simple, senior-friendly software program to go with it, there are several to choose from. For example, companies like PawPaw Mail, PointerWare and InTouchLink all make software designed for seniors.

by: Karen Hamilton, Freelance writer, [email protected]

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