We are really very lucky to have access to computers, but for the elder generation, using computer hasn’t always been so easy. Here we talk about how to select the best PC or laptop for aged ones.
A reader wrote into PC Advisor: My parents’ old PC has dead and they’d like to exchange it with an easy and reasonable laptop. They use Microsoft Office (2003 version) for emailing and word processing. They have an old printer that they want to keep with themselves.
It’s best to keep familiarity, as far as possible, to keep to Windows, stay away from touch screens, avoid also Apple and iPads, and to have as large a screen as possible. My father would also wish an old-style separate keyboard rather than using a small keyboard. It would also be better to remotely access the computer, so I could solve the problems for them as they live some miles away. So here’s how we solved their problem:
How to select a PC or laptop for your parents or grandparents
We do agree that knowledge is the number one priority here and, we almost hate to say it, a substitute desktop PC may be the wisest option for you. You don’t say what has really gone wrong with their existing computer, but keeping the keyboard in mind, mouse and monitor are still working; simply replacing the main PC will keep everything close as possible to what they had before. A little change in screen size or switching from a mouse to a laptop touchpad can both be main obstacles to an aged person with little leaning to master new technologies.
For remote access, we would recommend you to install Team Viewer from teamviewer.com, which can be used, free of cost for personal use and will also allow remote access from a different PC, Mac or mobile device.
One issue that’s often ignored when purchasing a computer is ergonomics. Obviously this affects everybody and not just the elderly, but making a computer comfortable to use is as important as the specifications of the machine itself.
It’s significant to have a chair and desk which permit the user to sit comfortably at the right height. Preferably the chair should have changeable arm rests, and you may also invest in a foot rest.
The monitors should be placed about arms’ length from the chair, and it should be directly in front of the chair to avoid neck strain. If it’s height adjustable, this will help in making the top edge roughly eye height. If the monitor doesn’t have any change, you could consider a mounting arm such as CBS’s Flo. The arm doesn’t attach the monitor in one place but allows you to move it around without difficulty with very little effort.