Teaching Old Dogs New Tricks: A Senior’s Guide to Computer Basics

For many seniors living through the digital age, adapting to online platforms and new technologies has been challenging. Between smartphones, tablets, and computers, featuring various degrees of complexity, some elders often feel overwhelmed and confused by high-tech capabilities. However, despite complications, many are beginning to embrace new technologies for their accessible, helpful functions.

Between increased socialization, quick access to emergency care, 24/7 entertainment, and convenient features like medication reminders and online grocery pick-up, seniors are flocking to new-and-improved technologies. Computers, in particular, are one of the most popular digital routes for seniors looking to expand their technological use.

However, computer systems can be confusing for first-time users. Luckily, you can step in and walk them through the setup, helping them navigate the start-up screens and personalized features. Plus, with senior-friendly models like The Wow Computer, installation is quick and straightforward.

If your elderly loved one has expressed interest in purchasing a computer, read on for a helpful guide to basic functions and essential setup steps.

Understanding computer components

Before jumping into the nitty-gritty, you’ll want to make sure your elderly loved one understands the basic components of their new computer. Ensure they know the difference between the tower, monitor, mouse, and keyboard and demonstrate how to connect each piece to the next. Although it may be tempting to set everything up yourself, make sure your elderly loved one understands essential chord connection points and button functions so they can operate their unit when you’re unavailable.

The tower

The tower functions as the computing unit’s operating system and powers the mouse, keyboard, and monitor. Depending on the computer they purchase, the exterior will have a DVD drive, USB port, and headphone connector, allowing for multimedia use. You’ll want to ensure your senior loved one is familiar with the power buttons and chord connection ports, so they understand how to turn their unit on and connect various additions.

The monitor

Although most people associate the monitor with the central computer, it’s simply a screen that projects the tower’s operations. However, it’s no less important than the processing unit, as your senior loved one will view everything through the monitor. Help your senior loved one connect the screen to the tower, adjust display settings to match their accessibility needs, and show them the buttons associated with the monitor. Depending on the model they select, volume, display sleep mode, brightness, and contrast buttons could be on the exterior.

The mouse

A computer mouse helps you communicate with the computer, allowing the user to click and utilize different functions viewed through the monitor. There are central parts of most basic models: The left-click, right-click, and scroll functions. The left-click button allows users to select different clickable areas on the monitor, while utilizing the right-click will bring up a menu screen or additional options. To use the scroll button, simply glide your finger along the dial. With a swift motion, your elderly loved one can drift from page-to-page, article-to-article in one fell swoop.

The keyboard

Like the mouse, the keyboard connects into the tower and allows you to type directly onto the monitor, inputting information into your computing system. Users can type letters and numbers, webpage addresses, and function keys to navigate menu screens and online spaces.

Using the computer

Once your senior loved one has become familiarized with the external components and connection ports, run through system set up, powering on, menu screens, and basic settings. These functions will depend on the model they select, so make sure to refer to user manuals to understand the operating system and fundamentals. Make sure to adjust display settings, enhancing fonts and brightness levels to ensure your elder can easily navigate the monitor.

Parting shot

Although it can be intimidating to use a computer for the first time, advanced technology and improved accessibility features make navigation a breeze. Help your senior loved one through the initial setup and run through the basic functions and watch them dive into the digital world worry-free.