According to the Pew Research Center, 67% of current seniors are able to and consistently use the internet. Two decades ago, that number was two times smaller. So, it is likely that your elderly loved one may already have access to and the ability to use a computer or other electronic devices. Still, among many of our elderly relatives, some individuals are not as computer-savvy as they would like to be, often relying on their younger family members. If your elderly loved one is part of the group of seniors who are unable to use electronic devices confidently, then computer classes are a great way to build their confidence and allow them a new aspect of independence. Computer classes make it possible for seniors to learn the basics and even attend lessons about app use, software programs, and more. If you’d like to help your loved one feel more comfortable in the digital world, take a look at the best computer classes for seniors below!
The Growing Population of Technology Savvy Seniors
It’s no surprise that the number of internet-friendly senior users has increased in the past two decades. Elderly people (just like the rest of us) want to stay connected to their families and friends. Especially in a year like 2020, the internet has become one of the only ways that we can communicate with each other; so, it’s only natural that seniors do not wish to be isolated from the rest of the world. This is why a lot of them sign up for computer classes.
Unlike their younger relatives, seniors did not grow up in the digital age. So, they need a bit more time with technology, and using it can be a challenge. Computer classes can speed up this adaption process, allowing users of all levels to chart their way through the world of tech.
For beginners, lower-level computer classes offer lessons on identifying different parts of the computer, such as the mouse, keyboard, and monitor. They also teach seniors how to use social media, set up email accounts, use Skype and other video calling applications, and recognize spam or malware. Classes will also focus on understanding how to use different internet browsers and create and print new documents.
Sure, seniors may be hesitant about the idea at first. It may seem tedious for both caregivers and their elderly loved ones to spend vital hours in a day learning something that can be frustrating at times. However, we encourage you to give computer classes a chance. So much of our everyday lives is taking place digitally. Seniors who are unable to use computers can miss out on several beneficial aspects of being technologically competent.
Advantages to Computer Classes for Seniors
1. They keep seniors connected to the rest of the world.
As we mentioned before, one of the most basic lessons taught in a computer class is how to use social media, emails, and video call applications. By understanding how to take advantage of these digital features, seniors can maintain relationships with their loved ones even during global pandemics, or if they simply live farther away. It’s especially difficult to stay in touch with children and younger family members as they grow up and start caring for their own families. Using the internet to communicate is a great solution and allows other family members to check in on the seniors as well, making sure that they are safe. For most seniors, computers are the perfect devices for video calls and other social media. They provide larger screens and better sound, and are generally more accessible.
2. They make everyday chores and tasks easier for seniors and their caregivers.
One of the biggest benefits of the internet is the vast amount of information it makes available for users. Seniors can easily look up weather forecasts, when garbage and recycling trucks are coming, local and international news, new recipes they want to try out, support services near them, and more. This will not only save them time but it will make life easier for caregivers as well since it will allow seniors to be more independent. They will no longer have to ask family members for help to find the necessary information and everyone benefits from your senior’s newfound skill!
3. Computers can also be a great source of entertainment.
Whether it be Youtube videos, online games, a myriad of reading material, Netflix movies and TV shows, or live concerts, your elderly loved one’s ability to use the internet and their computer can make life a bit more interesting and exciting. Simply put, using the internet can be a fun new activity. For those seniors who live without companions or spend most of their time alone, finding new books or exciting blog posts online can be a great way to avoid the dull aspects of retirement. Seniors can also find new hobbies to pursue and gain new skills.
4. Besides, computer classes can improve your elderly loved one’s confidence.
Regardless of the user’s age, the ability to properly interact with computers and other electronic devices can be a great boost for the individual’s confidence. Maybe your senior has struggled with technology for a while and they are doubting their ability to use computers/the internet. Encourage them! Ask them to try computer classes and watch their confidence grow as they learn how to navigate the internet.
5. Computer classes help seniors become more productive.
Just because your elderly loved ones are getting older does not mean they do not want to be productive. Learning how to use the different components of Microsoft Office, Google Drive, or other productivity-enhancing tools will allow seniors to be more creative, organized, and safe when it comes to their information. They will be able to write, generate new ideas, create detailed budgets, write shopping lists, set daily tasks and reminders, and so on.
It’s a common misconception that seniors do not need technology or the internet as much as the rest of us. Your elderly loved one may want to research a certain topic, understand their chronic illness by reading about it, connect with other people in their community or neighborhood, write out their expenses, or communicate with their lawyer and sign documents sent to them online. By learning how to use technology properly, both you and your senior will reap the benefits!
Best Online Computer Classes for Seniors
So, now that you’ve been convinced to try computer classes for seniors, we would like to offer you some options. There are two ways to go about gaining new technological skills: you can take online computer classes or attend lessons in-person. First, here are some of the best online computer classes for seniors:
Meganga offers free computer lessons for seniors and other beginners, providing training with online video classes that focus on general computer use, Microsoft Office Word, Powerpoint, and Excel. The team at Menanga believes that no one is ever too old to learn and that understanding how to use technology can open up a whole new world to seniors. Some of the topics included in their video tutorials are computer basics, graphics and photography, internet and email, Microsoft Office, and more. You can access their website here.
The Senior’s Guide to Computers
This program is a bit different from others in its approach. It uses different multimedia tools such as examples, pictures, and videos to explain how computers work. These tutorials – along with a glossary of basic technology terms and definitions – are reviewed and edited by an experienced web developer, offering more authority and assurance to learners. The lessons also incorporate some intermediate and advanced skills such as finding information on web browsers, backing up data, ways of using the computer for those who have disabilities, ensuing computer security, etc. You can access the Senior’s Guide to Computers’ tutorials here.
The Skillful Senior platform is the perfect place for your elderly loved one to learn necessary computer skills. Their basic tutorials are simple to use. You just have to help the seniors log into this site turn on the tutorial. This program also offers typing games that make learning a bit more fun for students. Their basic skills tutorials can teach seniors how to type and use different parts of the computer.
Home and Learn
Home and Learn is another free program for online computer classes. All of their tutorials are aimed at complete beginners so your elderly loved ones don’t need experience to get started. They just have to click on the course link and begin. Seniors can start classes at any time. They can also choose from a wide variety of topics that includes classes on outlook Express, spyware, Windows systems, Microsoft Office, web design, and more.
Goodwill Community Foundation’s Learn Free Program
GCF’s Learn Free program Offers seniors thousands of lessons. They have tutorials on over 180 topics; so, there is a lot to choose from. They have tutorials on Microsoft office, operating email accounts, and computer basics, among many other themes. These tutorials use videos, animations, diagrams, and other media to give users step-by-step instructions that are easy to follow. The site also provides users with interactive games and activities for no additional fee. Their classrooms are also open 24 hours a day internationally.
Best In-Person Computer Classes for Seniors
Online computer classes are great because they allow anyone, in any part of the world, to access new skills and information. However, some seniors have a difficult time learning without in-person instruction. If your elderly loved one feels that online computer classes are not a good fit for them, then you can turn to in-person learning. There are several options when it comes to local classes. Seniors can sign up at neighboring schools, colleges, libraries, and community centers. It’s also possible to find computer classes at nursing homes and other senior living communities.
There are private companies that offer free computer classes as well: Apple has classes for those seniors that use a Mac. Besides, you may be able to find volunteers in the community who will provide training for free. Finally, If you’re willing to pay for computer lessons, you can always look for advertisements in local papers and find personal instructors who will come to your home and hold private lessons for seniors. This way, you may also be able to customize the tutorials to your liking.
There are so many advantages to knowing how to use a computer, starting with better self-esteem and ending with the ability to connect to your loved ones. It allows individuals to be more creative, organized, entertained, and informed. Seniors should not be excluded from these benefits. So, whether you decide to go online or stay local, we highly suggest that you try out computer classes for seniors.
- Senior Computer Classes to Try Online for Free, Medicare, https://www.medicare.org/articles/senior-computer-classes-to-try-online-for-free/
- Older Adults and Technology Use, The Pew Research Center, https://www.pewresearch.org/internet/2014/04/03/older-adults-and-technology-use/