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When microwave ovens first came out I was one of the holdouts. I didn’t want one. Why in the world did I need a box to warm up my food when I had a perfectly good stove with four burners on top? When my husband came home with an expensive version of the microwave that could also become a convection oven, I was not amused. Now, of course, I happily nuke things every day.


Maybe you share the feelings I had about microwaves, but instead direct them toward computers. If so, and if you have one in your home, you just might find that you can’t do without it. Here are some ways to use the computer that are second nature to young people now, but are “news” to some of us older folks.


Everyday information:


Do you need a phone number or address of a friend? Don’t go to the phone book, simply type the person’s name into white pages or another similar search engine and you’ll have what you need in seconds. Want to know the mileage from one city to another, or the names of all the dinosaurs or a recipe for sugar cookies?

Go to google or another search site and type in the words. You’ll have what you need in quick order. All those things we used to look up in encyclopedias or other reference books are now at your fingertips.




Some of us no longer find a shopping day pleasurable. Or, perhaps we need to purchase something quickly. You can do comparison shopping in a jiffy and you can find reviews of products too. Online shopping sites make their ordering simple and safe. Shipping costs are often waived and besides, you’ve saved gas money by shopping at home.


Social Networking/communication

Who knew that everyone and their dog would have a Facebook page or use Twitter as a way of keeping in touch with friends? There is no substitute for real life conversation and nothing more lovely than receiving a card or letter in the mail, but for quick and easy communication you can’t beat social networking.

There are lots of forums online also that are designed for groups of all types and ages. If you’re an avid fisherman, you’ll find sites about fishing. If you love to knit or sew, you’ll find sites and blogs about that too. Once again, simply type the words into a search engine site and away you go.


Reading the News/watching your favorite shows

Any information or entertainment you can find on the television or radio, is now   often also available on your computer. Want to know the temperature in Honolulu? Google it. Want to follow the stock market? Same thing. Missed your favorite television show? You can watch it on your computer.


 Fun and Games


There are countless senior computer games on computer websites and most are free. There are word games and video games, slot machines and math games. With just a little bit of searching you’ll find many ways to have fun online. Research shows that cognitive skills are supported by many word and problem-solving games, plus they are just plain fun.




Another benefit of using your computer is to keep in touch with others is safety. Many seniors find themselves confined to their homes much of the time, and keeping in touch with people online is a wonderful way to let others know how you feel and what you might need. You can communicate via e-mail or social networking sites such as Facebook or Google plus.


Computers and other technology are here to stay and changing each and every day. There are computers designed specifically for use by the elderly. For computer basics, there are many classes you can take at local community colleges, senior centers and similar sites. And there are websites specifically for supporting seniors in their use of technology. Children and grandchildren are often willing to give tutorials, and friends who are one step ahead of you are willing to share information. So get in the swing of things by learning to use your home computer. Before you know it, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without it. No such things as computer  dummies anymore!