When we started PawPawMail (for those who are new to us, it’s a simple e-mail system designed for seniors and their caregivers), we knew that technical support would be significant — after all, it’s a new system, and both users and their managers would have some adjustment.
We didn’t realize, though, how many questions we would get on computer configuration in general. Both in setting up computers ourselves for seniors and in helping others to do so, we’ve become very familiar with the ways that a computer can be made much simpler to use.
Because of this, we thought it would be useful to put together a guide on how a regular computer user might set up a computer for an older relative, or for a large number of seniors at an assisted living facility. Many computers that we’ve seen in regular use by older adults haven’t been altered in the slightest way beyond the default configuration. We hope that by creating a single reference document, we’ll persuade the average computer manager to make some of the easiest changes, and that we’ll persuade experienced computer users to tweak the user interface even more for their parents or grandparents.
The guide is in its infancy — it currently only covers Windows XP (though it will very soon cover Vista and Macintosh) — but we wanted to get it out there for some feedback from the senior care community at large. We hope it is already helpful, but we want to get input from anyone who has worked with seniors and computers. We want this to grow into a more detailed reference for anyone who is configuring a computer for an older user for the first time.
So please send us your thoughts, corrections, wish-lists, and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org, and check out PawPawMail’s Quick and Dirty Guide to Configuring Computers for Seniors.