Computers for the elderly

25th December 2012  •  1 comment  •  Posted in Computers for seniors, Mobility issues

What is the best computer or computer adaptation for an elderly person?

This is actually quite a difficult question to answer because everyone’s needs differ.  In general though, elderly people will need some additional assistance in the following areas:

  • making the computer screen and keyboard easier to see
  • computer mouse which can be used by someone with mobility problems resulting from arthritis or similar
  • simplifying how the computer is used i.e. the interface

For each of these issues there are one or more possible solutions.

Improving visual accessibility

The easiest way to improve the screen’s visibility is – to buy a larger one.  If 19/20″ screen are now more or less standard, there is no reason why you can’t have a 24″ or larger screen, provided you have the desk or table space.  The largest that I have seen was a 42″ screen on someone’s desk.  Many TVs now can also act as computer screens – so you can get the best of both worlds!

High visibility or large button keyboards are now quite common.  We sell nearly all the ones that are available in the UK.  Here are the ones that we provide.

Many people find trackball mice easier to use.  Splitting the actions of clicking and dragging into two, which you do with a trackball, makes the operation of such a mouse much easier.  Here are our trackball mice.

For arthritic and joint problems, the AirObic Mouse comes highly recommended.

Finally, for an elderly person just starting to explore the benefits of the internet and email, using a computer can be very daunting.  Fear of new technology and worry about damaging something is very common.  There are two programs that we have found very successful with older people coming to computers later in life:

  1. Dolphin Guide is a fully integrated program that runs on any version of Windows.  It allows the user to do emails, write letters, explore the internet and much more – all within the same program. Instead of icons and windows there are menu options – write and email, send a letter etc.  All within a protected Guide area.  There is even a voice activated version of the software!
  2. A second program which offers a simpler interface than the normal Windows environment is a program called Eldy which is totally free and available from the Eldy website at http://www.eldy.eu/download-eldy/

KeyMonster keyboard

One response to “Computers for the elderly”

  1. Bernadette says:

    Elderly people seem to work better with touch screens on tablets.

Leave a Reply to Bernadette Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *