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Last week and this week I spent most of the time researching and writing about accessibility in computing. (You can read the first post and go from there if you're interested.) During my research I came across many references to computing for seniors (seniors being a group that also often prefers and even requires accessibility features in order to be able to use a computer). The overlap was obvious.
So I decided that after I was finished with my accessibility series. I'd look a little deeper into the subject of how to offer our senior citizens access to the world of computing and show how it can open up universes to them that they never knew existed. But perhaps the most important thing that I discovered is that being able to use the computer as a senior citizen is a great way to lessen feelings of isolation and uselessness, especially if you're housebound or have limited mobility.
If you listen to NPR (doesn't everyone listen to NPR? I suppose not; I just like to continue to clutch to that last shred of Pollyanna-ness I still have in my sweaty fist), you often hear this: "This program was brought to you in part by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, that believes everyone deserves to lead a healthy, productive life." (Or something like that.)
Although this video below was not created by the Foundation, its own tenet is "Enabling people and businesses throughout the world to realize their full potential." And when you watch this video, you'll see that PEOPLE are what it's all about; seniors in particular. Exploration and discovery don't have to end when you pass a certain milestone age; you, as a senior, can still learn how to use a computer so that you, too, help yourself lead a productive life and reach a potential you never knew you had.
Below are some resources that I found on the web that may help you, as a senior, or any seniors you know who are either having issues or considering dipping their toes into the digital world. Of course I can't formally endorse any of the non-Microsoft hosted resources, but I have looked into them and found them to be very helpful, as well as earnest in their efforts to help seniors make the most of their computing lives.
I hope that I've been helpful with this post; you don't need to be afraid of the computer—it's just a box of gear, basically. But oh, what partnership and adventure that box can offer if you know how to tickle its keyboard just right. And because of your life experience, you already know that just getting going is often the hardest part of a new endeavor. These resources can help you take that first step.
Crabby's Find of the Day: I found this interesting Facebook page for and about seniors. Let me know what you think about it: Silver Surfers: Senior Citizens and Online Social Networking
Right On! I'm 70, and love contact with the outside world. In fact, I found you in the process of trying to learn why I suddenly CANNOT delete email messages in my inbox. Each time I try to delete one a message pops up saying there's a problem with the Outlook Message Interface...whatever the devil that is! Thank heavens I can still send and receive...just can't delete! And they're piling up!! Do you know how hard it is to get a simple answer to a simple problem like this?? Well, I found you, Crabby...and I'll bet you can send me somewhere to get the answer. Keep encouraging seniors to "get with it". My grandchildren think I'm pretty "cool"! There's no reason to sit home and knit anymore! JAY.
Hi Jay! "Right on"! back atcha! I'm really glad you found me. I think I can help you with your problem about deleting mail, too, but I need to know a couple of things:
1) What version of Office Outlook are you using? If you don't know, do this:
a) Open up Outlook
b) Go to the (far right) the Help menu, click it, and then click "About Microsoft Outlook" (or something like that--it's usually the last item). It may say Outlook 2000, or 2002, 2003, 2007, 2010, or even (heaven forbid!) 1997!
2) What version of WINDOWS are you using? Windows 200 (hope not)? XP? 2003? Vista? 2007? Here's how to find out:
a) Click Start (or the button on the lower left of your screen - the place where you go to find your programs)
b) Click Run or if you see "Start Search" field click in it.
c) Type "winver" (no quotations) and press Enter.
Best way for us to do this is for you to email me at MSFTCrabby@hotmail.com
Also, I have to give a discalimer: I can't answer specific quesiton for poeple; optherwise that would be a 120-=hour a week job. But since you're new to Crabby, I want to get us off to a good start and I can also point you to some really good places for you to ask --and receive!!!--answers.
Thanks for being here. Glad to have you aboard, young man!
I love it when a senior jumps into computer life. Slow to walk through a registration? Yes, but I love the fact they are grabbing hold of life every minute and participating! I truly wish compouters had been around for my dad 25 years ago. He was deaf and communication was a huge problem for him. Email and web-surfing would have widened his world tremendously.
Hey, thanks for the comment, Linda! I, too, wish things had been different 25 years ago. Computers were available (and actually, the Internet became available to the public at large in ... well, I think less than 25 years ago. Here is an interesting article on the history of what I like to call "The Oracle of Probably Misinformation."
Thanks again; I'll bet your dad is on the Net right now watching you from above and feeling happy, fulfilled, & proud... (yeah, yeah, Crabby gets sentimental and goofy after dinner on Monday nights...)
That aforementioned article: en.wikipedia.org/.../History_of_the_Internet
My favorite teaching moment was with retired faculty emerita Sr. MaryAnn. I taught her to use Facebook when she was 85. She is now able to keep in touch with her former students and their lives. She was so happy!
Yes, i am not qualified senior citizen yet, but I enjoy reading this post, it like a glitch of my future.