Rona Barrett

Rona Barrett

I’m one of an awful lot of seniors who are pretty frustrated right now. I know what you’re thinking and, no, I’m not talking about that!

I’m talking about our frustration with what we have difficulty living without, and what we have difficulty living with: computer technology.

My own frustration was at a fever pitch the other day while at lunch with my friend. I was complaining about having sent out a note to someone on my computer and I get a message back: Cannot deliver. Why? What did I do wrong? What do I press next to figure out where it’s gone? It’s even more frustrating when I’m copied on emails that I don’t get -– but everyone else does! I look in the junk box, spam box, but it’s not there.

My hairdresser was telling me recently that her mother is also very frustrated. She used to know how to do everything on her computer and then one day her computer screen was totally different than when she went to bed the night before. My hairdresser, who is probably a Gen X-er or Baby Boomer, couldn’t even help her because even she hasn’t been able to keep up with the changes. So now they’re both frustrated.

It feels like technology is coming so fast and so furious – like a speeded up film - even people like me who used to know how to use technology are having a hard time keeping up.

Thankfully, the computer manufacturers have finally realized this force of frustrated seniors could be a new, lucrative market for them. They’ve designed desktop computers, laptop computers, and tablets that are simpler and easier for us seniors to use. Every manufacturer, and even new manufacturers, offer an array of senior-friendly computers. Now, all we have to do is figure out which one is the best one for us! Search “computers for seniors” on the Internet and you’ll see what I mean. If you don’t have a computer, ask a friend or family member to help you.

Should you decide not to buy a new senior-friendly computer, maybe your frustration can still be mitigated using your current model.

The Wall Street Journal thinks so. Their online article at asks, “Who Says Seniors Can’t Be Tech Savvy?” The article showcases Older Adults Technology Services (OATS) who are harnessing the power of technology to change the way we age.

Then there’s Senior Planet – Aging with Attitude at “where people 60+ who are interested in technology can connect, learn, and grow.”

AARP offers tips and training, and online classes for seniors who want to understand technology better, which can make aging at home easier and keep seniors more connected to family, friends, and to the world.

From everything I’ve read – and everything I’ve learned - patience is the key. We have to be patient with ourselves. We also need to take it slow, write it down, and use the tech savvy resources of our family and friends – who must also be patient with us.

And, if all else fails, there’s a new Computers for Seniors for Dummies book. Hey, maybe that’s what will help me remember what I used to know!

Until next time ... keep thinking the good thoughts.

Senior activist and local resident Rona Barrett is the driving force behind the Golden Inn & Village (GIV), the area’s first affordable senior living facility. GIV strives to bring services to seniors so they may age in place. Reach her at Visit for more information.


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