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Help a Senior get a Computer

Fix up an old computer for a Senior

Are you a Senior like me and know a Senior that is not online or is opposed or afraid of computers. I think older people should have a computer and access to the Internet, but they would need help with feeling comfortable with the computer first and many Seniors can not afford a computer or Internet access. There are nonprofit programs available for Seniors to obtain Internet access for free, check with your local community for a list of those services. Next they would need a computer, again many Seniors cannot afford a computer, but how many of us have old computers laying around that we no longer use, a Senior is only going to use the computer to look up information and emailing. If you have a old computer laying around, fire it up, reformat it and reinstall the OS, hook it up to your Internet connection and update everything, install some free software like, Adaware, a free Office program, AGV free Anti-virus by, maybe download the free version of IncrediMail. After you have it all cleaned up and running, check out the free Internet accesses and install the appropriate Network or Modem Card. What you may want to do as you are setting up the computer, is to bookmark some web sites in the browsers favorites, being that is for a Senior, perhaps some trusted medical sites, where they can look up medicines, local clinic and Hospital websites. Maybe bookmark ARP, my website for computer basics, set Google as the Home page in the browser so it is less confusing for them to search, bookmark Yahoo for a page with multiple links, a news site, shopping site, weather site, dictionary site, sites to get them interested in searching for more information, Walmart, Sears, Social Security site.
Ok we have a surfing machine ready to go, now all you need is a Senior to enjoy it. If you do not know a Senior that could use your computer, you could contact your local Religious groups and see if they may know of some Seniors that might be interested or maybe a coworker knows someone, maybe check with your local government agencies. You have found or know a Senior that is interested in receiving your gift. Now you need to spend some time with them. Go through step by step of how to setup their computer, maybe open up the case of the computer and explain what is inside the case, so it does not seem so intimidating to them, if they see that there is really not that much to a computer and have some idea as to how it works, they may feel more comfortable with it. Once you have it all setup and have let them set it up a couple times, it is time to fire that baby up and unleash the power of computing to them, well anyways start teaching them the basics of the computer.
First I would show them how to start the computer and how to shut it down. Next open a program and show them how to close it using ctrl-alt-delete, then show them how to End Task to shut the program down, while doing that, explain that sometimes a program may freeze and that it will not be their fault and that is how to close the troubled software. Next I would delete a shortcut on the Desktop and then open the Recycle Bin and restore it, that way they will know how to delete something, where it will be placed and how to Restore it if they make a mistake. Next the Start Menu program list, show them how to open a program and how to close programs, they need to be shown that they can click around and open up programs and not be afraid to look around and maybe explain to them that the worst thing that could happen is that you would have to reformat and reinstall the OS. Take them to the Control Panel and have them open everything and explain what they are. You may have to do this in several sessions so it is not overwhelming to them. Next would be how they get online, if it is a dailup connection write the user name and password and put it on the monitor for easy reference. Once online take them to the different sites you have saved in the Favorites, show them how to click on different links and how to open a movie link, try to explain how the links work and how to bookmark a page that they are interested in, then save a page and go into the Favorites list and show them how to delete the links they no longer want in their Favorites. Once they get the feel for it, then show them how to disconnect from the Internet.
Next sending and receiving mail, let them watch as you setup their account, then send an email to their account and show them how to Send mail and how to receive mail. If you set them up with Outlook Express you can install Spam Fighter to help with the Spam, this is a free program that I use. Explain to them about Spam and not to open any mail that is not from someone they know and how to block it and how to empty the Spam folder. I would make sure that whatever email program you setup up for them, make sure the preview pane is off, which will help stop any email infections from happening, plus AGV will scan the incoming mail. One thing we should remember to do, is show them how to set the Text Size for programs. Also make sure to set all the programs to Auto Update and empty folders when they exit the programs.
If you setup a printer for them, you will want to show them how to copy text and paste it into Notepad or Word and then how to Save it to the Desktop or a Folder, then show them how to print it out. Then how to Print a web page, using the browser. Seems like a lot for a Senior to learn, we take for granted how much about computers we really know, compared to someone who is a little intimidated and leery of a computer. So you will have to be patient and try to remember back to when you first sat down to that screen, mouse and keyboard. You could also fix up the Computer and donate it to a School, Church, Nursing Home, Library, Senior Center or a Homeless Center.


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