Technology opens a whole new world of connections. You can talk to a friend you haven't seen in years through Zoom or exchange emails with family members in a matter of minutes. You can manage your finances, play crossword puzzles, download and watch movies, listen to music, and even go shopping – all from your computer or smartphone.
And, with the recent need for social distancing, activities like telemedicine and video conferencing have become excellent and safe ways to stay connected with health providers and other important people in our lives.
There's definitely a huge benefit to understanding and using technology. So, whether you're someone who feels clueless around a keyboard or you just want to enhance your knowledge, by the end of this article, we hope you feel more confident in your computer skills and have some great resources to bookmark for future use.
Let's Get Comfortable
For starters, once you turn on your computer, it helps to adjust the settings so it's the most comfortable experience for you. Make the text larger or smaller, the sound louder or softer, or the screen darker or brighter, as needed. Here's how to do this on a PC computer, and here's how to do this on a Mac computer.
Now we can get to business!
Understanding the Basics
If the grandkids sound like they're speaking a foreign language when it comes to computers, you may find this comprehensive listof lingo pretty handy. It's a glossary of terms (with pictures) compiled by the National Institute on Aging. Understanding the language can be half the battle, so the next time you hear a word you don't know, refer to this list or "Google it."
What Exactly is Google?
Once your computer is connected to the internet, Googlecould very well become your new best friend. It's the world's largest index of everything online. It's most commonly referred to as a "search engine" because you can use it to quickly search through websites across the globe and find the best match for pretty much anything you need to know.
For example, if you type in the search bar "how to set up a Facebook account," Google will give you countless results. Simply click on the first few options, and find instructions that are easiest for you to follow.
Take Your Computer for a Spin
The best way to get more comfortable with technology is to use it. In fact, kudos for being online right now and reading this blog post! Once you get past any initial hesitation and realize you can't really break anything (unless you physically drop your computer), it can be a lot of fun to "click around!"
Here are some interesting places for you to visit:
As a bonus, if you've been thinking about relocating to an independent senior living community, you can use your computer to take a virtual tour of a Resort Lifestyle Community! Use our location map to find a community near you, then click Take A Tour to get started.
The Most Common Questions
As you get more experience online, you may run into a few questions or snags. That's normal. In fact, here are some of the most common questions seniors have about their computers – along with simple answers.
- What's the best way to protect myself when using the internet? Use strong passwords that combine letters, numbers, and punctuation marks. This makes it much harder for someone to guess your password and access any of your accounts. It's also smart to change your passwords every 6 months. So, writing them down in a secure place can help you keep track.
- How do I speed up my computer? Having too many programs open at once is the most common reason for a slow computer. Try closing some of your tabs, and programs and that might do the trick. You also want to check that your internet service has speeds of at least 25 Mbps (million bits per second) to run today's programs at a comfortable speed.
Helpful tip: Want to check your internet speed right now? Go to this link and click the "Go" button!
- How do I keep from losing things stored on my computer? Make sure to back-up your files. The simplest way to do this is to use an external hard drive. Plug this device into your computer and simply click and "drag" your files over to the drive for safe keeping.
- I still feel lost. Where can I find easy and reliable tutorials? While there are several free and excellent tutorials online, these two sites are designed specifically for seniors: TechBoomers and AARPTek.
We hope this article has been helpful and that you feel more confident in your computer skills. It's never too late to learn something new, especially technology. Just remember to be patient with yourself and know you can't learn everything in a single day. With some practice, patience, and persistence, you can feel like a pro in no time.
Helpful tip: Bookmark this blog post! Click the "star" icon on the right side of the address bar located at the top of this page. This post will be added to your bookmarks, which makes it faster to find the next time you open your internet