Computers For Seniors

Question: Dear Luise: How did you get into computers as a senior? I hope my question doesn’t sound nosey but I am no spring chicken myself and haven’t gotten up the courage to tackle the e-world…(except like now when I’m at my son’s house.) It feels safe here but daunting to consider on my own. I’d like to be able to be in contact with him by email and I’d like to have the web available, too. I like word processing on it. That could be fun. Did you take any lessons? Or did you have a job where you had to learn to use one? Was it hard for you? I’d appreciate hearing about your experience, if you’re willing. Thanks so much. Glenda

Answer: Dear Glenda: I don’t mind talking about senior computing. It has added a dimension to my life that I would find very hard to replace, if it was ever necessary for me to cease and desist.

When I was sixty-six years old, I bought a small laptop just for the fun of playing the games on it that were then available, and to use it in place of my typewriter. My eldest son was horrified at my choice and quickly took it back and got me a used laptop he felt was far superior to my choice. (I’m sure he was right.) The first thing I did was fully initialize the hard drive to get rid of the former owner’s personal stuff, not knowing there was a way to delete it without taking such drastic action. Hewlett-Packard took pity on me and sent me what I needed to bring it back to life, and I learned a good lesson. Think about it…talk about it…before actually doing it!

I had no interest in the budding new web at that time, but in 1998, my youngest son moved to Hawaii and offered me his desktop. He also hooked me up to a server and told me he’d be looking forward to hearing from me by email. It was pretty scary. However, I found a Senior Center not far away that had computer classes and was very tickled with myself when I arrived home able to play Solitaire!

There’s been lots of trial and error since then. I’ve had viruses and crashes and new computers but I wouldn’t give it up, ever. Often I can resolve a problem by remembering how the last one turned out, and there is a lot about it that is simple logic. Both of my sons helped me help myself and I ended up taking several courses in the early days.

I say jump in! Maybe you can do what I did and ask your son for help without leaning on him too hard. At first there was a fine line between the two for me. Eventually, I have learned to pretty much take care of myself, but once in a while I still ask my “steering committee” for help. Getting into computers as a senior is not a piece of cake for most of us, but it can be a sweet experience. Blessings, Luise

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