Computers were not always a necessary part of everyone’s lives. They are not always easily accessible and technology is constantly changing, making it hard for older people to keep up with. But in current times, they have become almost absolutely necessary for almost everything, regardless of age. It is a way to do everything from keeping in touch with loved ones, to sharing memories through online family albums, writing down thoughts, and even ordering groceries.
It is important that technology for seniors is easy to understand, easy to adapt to and more reminiscent of technology they may be more familiar with. Even if they are familiar with recent modern technology, it is important to choose devices for them that are user-friendly, and accommodating of any physical challenges that come with old age. You may also want to find a computer for your loved one so it is easier to keep in contact with them in these difficult times.
This article will discuss a few of the best options for seniors.
What are the Different Types of Computers?
- Desktops. This is what usually comes to mind from the word ‘computer’ as they are the traditional model consisting of a monitor, CPU, keyboard and mouse. They are supposed to remain in one place and are not meant to be portable.
- Laptops. These are more common in today’s age, largely due to their portability and compactness. They are often even more advanced than desktops nowadays.
- All-in-One. These are newer kinds of computers where the desktop’s main components are built right into the monitor.
- Tablet. Though tablets are not usually classified under computers, many tablets on the market today come with accessories that can turn it into a functioning computer with a keyboard and mouse. These tablets can do what a computer can if not more sometimes.
How Do I Choose the Best Computer for a Senior?
Most seniors may want or need a laptop for primarily social functions. Especially now, for many people, online video calls are the only way to see their families. These are a few things to keep in mind when buying a laptop for a senior:
- Security. Viruses and spyware are as prevalent as ever, and can be daunting when you are not familiar with how to prevent them. Even if seniors are aware of these issues, they are still difficult and time-consuming to deal with.
- Power. Most seniors have light needs from their computers such as social media, streaming movies or checking email, which means powerful processors that can run big applications are not entirely necessary.
- Boot time. For almost any user, senior or not, boot time is a factor to consider. You do not want a computer that takes ten minutes to start up.
- Voice command enabled. Voice assistants are very helpful, especially for seniors, so having a computer that supports voice commands can be a feature to look out for. You can learn more about how voice assistants are helpful to seniors here.
- Communication features. Many seniors may want to use their computers to video call their family often, which means a webcam and mic are necessary. Additionally, there may be other features that they may want such as a DVD player, which should be looked out for since many laptops nowadays don’t have these.
- Software. Different operating systems have different user interfaces and functions. There may be certain applications that your loved one may need that are exclusive to a certain operating system, making it an important factor when purchasing a computer. Windows is a more widely used operating system, and many seniors may be more familiar with its interface. Apple is relatively less common, but still boasts many accessibility features, and a great hassle-free interface.
- Budget. Computers have become more budget-friendly over the years, but that doesn’t make them any less of an investment. If budget is an issue, then there are alternatives to look into, such as getting a tablet, a simpler version of the same device, or a refurbished computer.
- Screen-size. Those with poor eyesight may benefit from a larger screen, that is 14 inches or bigger. If a really large monitor is required, then desktops are a good option instead of a laptop, as their screens can go up to 35 inches or more.
The WOW! Computer for Seniors
The WOW computer is a computer that is specially designed and marketed to seniors. It is meant to be as easy to use and accessible as possible for seniors. It has a touch screen, which can be helpful for seniors that have physical challenges like arthritis, where using a mouse or a keyboard may be difficult. It has a zoom magnification feature that can be used on most screens with text, making words easier to read.
There are no requirements for installing additional software; everything your loved one may need will already be on the computer, along with free anti-virus protection. Learn more about the WOW! Computer here.
Telikin Computer for Seniors
This computer made specially for seniors is touchscreen as well, and is very easy to set up unlike a traditional computer. The computer makes video calling much easier for a senior to see their family and makes photo sharing an accessible feature as well, which may seem more difficult on other devices. The computer has been described as “computing without the learning curve”. Find out more here.
Other Simple Computers for Seniors
While options like the WOW! Computer and the Telikin computer are designed specifically for seniors, there are still other options from the traditional range of computers on the market today. They may not have the same accessibility and functionality catered towards seniors, but can be great devices nonetheless.
The ASUS Chromebook, from the extremely popular brand ASUS, is a budget-friendly laptop that is very flexible. It has a hinge with an 180-degree axis. It is durable with rubber grip on its edges and has a spill-resistant keyboard making it sturdy and reliable. The keyboard also has a 15% larger font size than most other laptops, making it easy to read and use. The only con of this laptop may be its screen size which is 11.6 inches, meaning it might not be ideal for seniors with vision problems.
ASUS ZenBook Flip UX360CA
The ASUS ZenBook Flip is a convertible laptop that is still highly budget-friendly. It does not have the fastest or most powerful processor, but it is efficient enough for most tasks. It has a larger display at 13.3 inches (touch screen), making it a manageable size. Additionally, it may also be pleasant for your loved one to have a relatively silent laptop with no loud fan noise. This laptop’s processor allows for that fanless experience, allowing for some quiet while using it.
HP Pavilion 17
Many seniors may have vision impairment that makes it hard for them to stare into small screens for extended periods of time. The HP Pavilion has one of the largest computer screens out there at 17.3 inches, while also being budget-friendly. This laptop also has an above-average RAM at 6 GB, making it dependable for even light gaming, if your senior wishes to do so.
Acer Aspire, All-in-one Computer for Seniors
This computer removes the need for a clunky tower, and has a 23.8 inch monitor, making it extremely easy to read from and use for long periods of time. A computer like this minimizes the hassle of many wires, while providing the same experience as many large screen desktops.
Microsoft Surface Pro 6, Computer Tablet
While the surface pro is technically a tablet, the capacity and overall specs of the tablet make it just as powerful and useful as a laptop. With a detachable keyboard and its large responsive touchscreen, the setup can be very portable and easy to use for a senior who finds tapping things easier than using a mouse. It is only 1.7 pounds, making it a very light device.
Tablets don’t have any boot times, because they turn on with a simple touch or push of a button. They also have almost no load time for applications. Tablets are also less prone to virus issues.
HP Pavilion 570 Desktop Bundle
This is a great computer to start with, especially for someone who is just getting used to using computers more regularly. It’s easy to set up unlike many desktops and also has a large 23-inch screen.
Whether your loved one is computer savvy or not, the computer they use should cater to their needs in every way possible. That is why it is important to consider different factors while purchasing a computer for them. There are a plethora of options for computers from desktop setups to sleek notebooks, but only some of these computers get some things particularly right, making them great choices for a senior.
- The 5 Best Laptops For Seniors in 2021 (Simple & Easy To Use), Laptop Study, https://laptopstudy.com/best-laptop-for-seniors/
- The Best Laptops for Seniors in 2020, Simply Laptop, https://simplylaptop.com/the-best-laptops-for-seniors/#tab-con-6
- Here’s the best computer for seniors and elderly parents, CNET, https://www.cnet.com/how-to/heres-the-best-computer-for-seniors-and-elderly-parents/
- 9 Computers That Will Be a Breeze for Seniors to Use, FirstForWomen, https://www.firstforwomen.com/gallery/home/best-computers-for-seniors-173345
- Just Point, The WOW! Computer, https://www.mywowcomputer.com/computer-for-seniors.aspx
- Telikin, http://www.telikin.com/