Senior Power: PC Stands For Personal Computer

By Helen Rippier Wheeler
Monday February 07, 2011 - 03:34:00 PM

PC also stands for personal and pleasant communication! Cognitively stimulating activity is among the lifestyle factors that may help lower the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. And yet only 3% of persons age 74 and older use the Internet. Technology use among elderly Americans is low, relative to the rest of the population.  

But times are changing. Seniors 74-years-old and older are the fastest-growing age group on social-networking sites, where usage has quadrupled since 2008 to 16% from 4%. According to the Wall Street Journal (Jan. 12, 2011), teens are teaching elders how to use the Internet. 

Why are some senior citizens so resistant to technology? Would they be less so if senior centers and retirement communities encouraged their learning and acquisition? Instruction and equipment are often lacking. An eleven step-instruction manual for teaching senior citizens to use a computer points out that “Once they master the basics, seniors can use computers to pay their bills, communicate with relatives who live far away and write business letters.” To name just a couple of things! I recently received an email from England from a cousin I never knew I had -- she had found me via the Internet.  

I have tried a “Mac” (Macintosh computer). Success may depend somewhat on which you learn on and your instructors. I prefer a PC (personal computer).  

February 2011 Computer Classes for Seniors 

Albany Library (Alameda County Library) 

Wednesdays, Feb. 9, 16 and 23 (and Wednesdays throughout March), Alameda County Library Albany branch (plenty of parking), 1247 Marin Av., (510) 526-3720: 12 PM Computer tutoring. Sign-up required.  

Albany Senior Center 

846 Masonic Avenue, Albany, CA 94706. (510) 524-9122 

Has one PC computer available for seniors’ use and is working on getting a volunteer instructor. 

Berkeley Public Library 

In February 2011 the Berkeley Public Library’s free computer classes at Central include:  

Thursdays, Feb. 10, 17, and 24 at 10 AM “Computers for Beginners” 

Mondays, Feb. 7, 14 and 28 “Evening Computer Class” 

Berkeley senior centers 

Training “for all seniors 55 & over.” Days and times are detailed on page 3 of the February Tri-Center Nugget

North Berkeley Senior Center, 1901 Hearst Ave., (corner MLK; #25 AC bus stops at the Center). (510) 981-5190. 

South Berkeley Senior Center, 2939 Ellis St., (corner Ashby). (510) 981-5170. 

West Berkeley Senior Center, 1900 6 St. (510) 981-5180. 

Emeryville Senior Center 

4321 Salem St., Emeryville 94608. (510) 596-3730: 

Mondays, 9:30 AM Internet training.  

“Oakland Public Library  

Offers free computer classes for the public. The library also maintains a directory of schools offering free or low-cost computer classes for adults in the Oakland area and places offering free or low-cost computer classes for people with disabilities.” (510) 238-3138.