Today it is hard to imagine living without computers and young people couldn’t imagine living without them. On the other hand, many older people never saw the need to learn to use computers before the arrival of the Internet. Many elderly people may find ‘social media’ and ‘electronic mail’ as recent novelties, and as a result may feel excluded from a large part of the sharing that takes part among families and younger generations.

If you have an elderly relative or know of someone who would like to learn to use a computer or a tablet computer, listed below are a few examples that would be good for seniors to have access to:

Sharing emails with family and friends

  • Shopping online, especially if it is difficult to get out and about.
  • Viewing and sharing photos. Already seniors regularly upload and share photos online and an even greater amount view photos shared by other family members on social networks.
  • Internet banking is also becoming increasingly popular among older people

The Biggest Benefit

  • Reducing Loneliness, the greatest benefit of using a computer is that you are able to connect with friends and family, whether it is through video calls via Skype or by sending messages.
  • The elderly who live alone can feel lonely, for them getting online whether through a computer or a tablet can be the most effective way to reduce loneliness.
  • You can become increasingly isolated as more of our communications have gone from phone calls to emails and Facebook updates.

A personal computer or laptop
This is the more traditional choice for people of all ages, providing a separate keyboard, mouse and screen for viewing, navigation and interaction. These days most people will be familiar with computers either through school or from their workplace, but for an older person, a computer, keyboard or mouse may take some time to master for a number of reasons:

  • basic things like starting and turning off Windows can be a bit challenging with login questions and passwords
  • Older people may also find choosing keyboard combinations like “control + alt + del” difficult to grasp, especially as a lot of older computer users may only use two fingers when typing.
    Double-clicking on a mouse is often problematic for the elderly because of the need for specific fine motor skills.

Tablet Computers
Whilst a relatively new invention, tablet computers like Apple’s iPad have become increasingly popular. Tablets have also become popular among older people, because their touch-screen interfaces are often easier to learn to use and you are able to do most daily tasks like browse the news, read emails or have a video chat within a couple of touches.

The touchscreen is also the main downside of tablets, as many older users may find it harder to touch because of poor circulation in the fingers or simply because the icons are too small or close to each other. People who have had difficulties touching a tablet screen may find using a stylus pen easier to use. If typing on the on-screen keyboard proves difficult, you can also consider using speech recognition instead, which comes as standard on more recent tablets like the iPad3 and more recent Androids.

When deciding which one is better, a computer or a tablet, a good idea is to shop around and have a look at both of them. Maybe a family member or friend could show you their own devices to see which you like best.

Right Click Assistant can help to make using tablets simpler and easier to use for seniors. We offer a great at home computer training service. We also visit Retirement Villages and other local venues. One of the most important aspects of our lessons are that they are fun and run in a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. We are renowned for our patience and good humour and we understand how bewildering it can be to a beginner. For further details please give us a call on 0419 356 894, email: or visit our website at