The reasons why older adults learn to uses of computer are diverse, such as acquiring new knowledge and raising self-esteem; others respond to more specific needs, such as preparing to help your children or grandchildren with their studies, find a new job or stay in the current one. Once they have mastered a computer, they use it as a tool for calculation, writing, and communication, information of interest, continuous learning, and entertainment. In addition, they often visit chat rooms to find new friends or exchange information about their hobbies.

Barriers to break

While experiencing decline in social relationships and loss of physical mobility as they age, many seniors feel unable to learn to use computers and the Internet. As they have never been exposed to these new technologies, they have no idea that they will help them in expanding their social network. Sometimes they believe that its use will add nothing new to their routines; for example, they think that no one is receiving their emails or they do not know who to ask about technical questions. Another disadvantage of the use of ICTs is that they are still economically inaccessible for this age group due to their low income, since in many cases they depend on retirement pensions or contributions that their relatives give them. So you can see this Printed Circuit board MAD PCB.

What they are really facing

Older adults also face numerous physical and mental restrictions, some of them related to age, such as decreased visual capacity, loss of short-term memory or the increasing number of chronic degenerative diseases, such as arthritis. These age-specific conditions pose even more obstacles to overcome in the process of learning and mastering ICT. In addition to this, they often experience higher levels of anxiety and have less favorable attitudes than younger people due to their higher levels of non-fat acids, indicators of the human body’s metabolic response to stress.

Some activities with input devices such as the mouse cause difficulties for older adults, such as simple dragging, clicking or double-clicking, or moving object computer programmer’s website developer also can face these type of problems. The unfriendly layout of screens, programs or Internet pages, as well as the small size of the font, the use of drop-down menus or a poor background in color confuse or frustrate them. There are even cultural linguistic impediments related to computer terminology. As can be seen, all these obstacles focus on structural accessibility and limit many elderly people in the use of computers and the Internet.

Nonetheless

There’s a solution. Many of the inconveniences, restrictions, annoyances or disabilities are not impediments to using the computer or the Internet. There are currently several ways to solve them thanks to the fact that technology has become more friendly, flexible and easy to operate. All that is required of novice users, including seniors, is basic technical knowledge to handle it. An example is the accessibility resources included in the Windows operating system, one of the most used in the world. Through these resources, accessibility can be improved for users with mild disabilities, whether motor, hearing or visual, without the need for additional software or hardware. By simply adding a special input and output interface to the computer, motor-impaired people design and write letters or reports according to the characteristics of their problem. Thus, a quadriplegic person communicates with the computer through language, with the movements of his head and using a special helmet; in the same way you can use the mouse.

Difficulty facing by people

The output of information on the computer is the greatest difficulty faced by people with visual impairment. To solve this problem, there are mechanisms that connect alternative systems to the monitor and thus allow the replacement of images by sounds, or a line in Braille mode (tactile, so that what is written is verified). Braille printers make it possible for the visually impaired person to verify both what they capture on the computer and the result of their work. Someone with hearing impairment uses the computer as well or as badly as anyone else, since the most used element to receive the information is the screen, and therefore it does not need special adaptations. Older people work with her without problems; in case of receiving audible messages, they are replaced with visual signals.

Regarding the economic aspect

It is not necessary to buy a computer to be a user, as there are currently several options, such as Internet businesses or institutions that offer this service free of charge to the elderly; an example of this in Mexico is the National Institute for the Elderly (INAPAM). Finally, the definition of older adult users of ICT, as well as the interpretation of their needs and demands, are characterized by prejudices, insufficient methods and poorly developed reflections on the perspectives of aging and technology. Among other beliefs, there is the idea that older adults have difficulty handling these types of tools or generate addiction in them. However, it is also expected that soon there will be positive results and the panorama will change, since there is a great interest among producers, researchers, designers, suppliers and other actors involved in the use of technology for the elderly. Two key factors for this are the need for cooperation between different actors and the adoption of multidisciplinary approaches in research on aging and technology. The increasing use of computers and the Internet has profoundly transformed the lives of older adults in terms of their health and entertainment possibilities, among other things. 

Why Computer literacy

Computer literacy not only compensates for age-related decline in physical and mental abilities, it also plays an important role in prolonging independent life and improving quality of life.

A large part of today’s older adults have medium or low levels of education, do not have contact with computer technology or their accessibility is minimal due to its high costs. For all of the above, strategies must be designed to bring older adults closer to the use of computers and the Internet. Twenty or thirty years from now, the circumstances governing the use of the computer by the elderly will be completely different, since many of us will belong to this age group and for various reasons we have learned the use of one. Now our efforts must focus on creating the necessary conditions for computing to be an accessible and easy-to-use resource for the elderly, today and tomorrow. The Internet offers enormous possibilities for older adults, but unfortunately it is a challenge if it is to access it.

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