The world's population has never been older, according to IBM. In fact, 20% of the U.S. population will be over 65 by 2030. IBM has been helping Mitsukoshi, one of Japan's leading retailers, to take advantage of what they see as a unique opportunity. They have already helped Macy's and Bloomingdales make their websites more accessible to the elderly.Go to original article and video . . .

Image of elderly woman using a laptop

Image source: The Independent

Seniors shop online

IBM helps seniors shop online (watch the video)

Typical issues affecting the elderly include:

Getting the UK online - including the elderly

Computer Resources


An all-in-one computer package, for people who are blind, partially sighted, or just new to computers. It has been designed to be easy-to-use and easy-to-learn.

  • Guide has its own in-built screen reader, so it will read out the text on every screen, even while you're typing.
  • It has its own in-built screen magnifier, so you can enlarge the text on every screen, whether you are writing a letter or surfing the Internet.
  • It turns your computer into an easy-to-use Reading Machine. Printed text documents are placed on the scanner and then both spoken out and magnified on the screen.
  • It is available as a CD to be loaded onto an existing computer, or as a complete computer package, all setup and ready to be used.
  • It offers many features, integrated within one package, so that there is no need to switch between different programmes to complete each task.
  • These features include: Write letters and documents; Spell-checker; Dictionary and thesaurus; Magnify handwriting, diagrams or pictures; Print or edit photos from your digital camera; Send and receive emails; Surf the internet; Addresses and contacts; Calendar and reminders and playing CDs and MP3s.

  • Guide-Handsfree is an all-in-one computer package which can be fully controlled by your voice. No keyboard or mouse required.
Guide Demo Part 1

Guide Demo Part 2

Guide Demo Part 3

Guide Hands-Free Introduction


SimplicITy computer for the elderly

Image of the SimplicITy computerA new computer aimed at people aged over 60 who are unfamiliar with PCs and the internet has been unveiled. The simplified desktop - called SimplicITy - has just six buttons directing users to basic tasks such as e-mail and chat. The computer uses the Linux Mint operating system and comes pre-loaded with 17 video tutorials from television presenter Valerie Singleton. More than 6 million people over the age of 65 have never used the internet, according to government figures.

Val Singleton introduces the SimplicITy


Welcome to Alex !

alex comes complete with a suite of simple, practical programs that are always available on-screen at the touch of a button. alex is a subscription-based service. There's no maintenance, no anti-virus system to manage and alex is always up to date - the system makers take care of all of that for you. New features and enhancements are continually added that you receive automatically as part of your subscription, all backed up by a comprehensive help package available online, on paper and by telephone from their support team.
What you get . . . a laptop, a mouse and a latch key (security USB pen).

Screenshot of Alex website

Screenshot of Alex website
Alex Demo

Go to Alex YouTube channel . . .


Maavis provides simplified access to media, communications, web and programs on a computer. It is primarily designed for people who are either unsure of computers or unable to use them without adaptation. Screens of buttons containing text or images perform simple operations when activated. Activation can be with, pointer, keyboard, touch screen or with the built in switch access scanning support.

More about MAAVIS . . .

BBC story about a 93 year old using the MAAVIS computer program. Dated 10/11/2010

screenshot of MAAVIS

Image source . . .


SoftShell software for seniors

Another guided tour of SoftShell . . .

Voice and Video Calling PointerWare users are just two clicks away from face-to-face time with children, grandchildren, caregivers and friends.

PointerWare allows anyone with an Internet connection to make free, unlimited video calls to Skype users.

. . .and there's more

SoftShell - Frequently Asked Questions

Does PointerWare require a touchscreen?
What are the system requirements?
Does it run on a Mac?
What languages does it support?
Can I use an existing email address with it?

Check out the F.A.Q. for the answers!

Other Resources

e-Citizen for the elderly

Computer training for older people

User reviews are always welcome. Add yours to the discussion at the bottom of the page.

Ten Tips for the Awkward Age of Computing

Here are ten tips on how you can use Windows XP to counter the effects of the awkward age. We encourage you to copy, print, or post these cartoons, reproduce them in company publications, or forward them to friends and colleagues. (Images and Text: Courtesy of Brian Basset and Microsoft Corporation)

A Screen Too Far

Squinting to see his laptop screen, Adam gets so close that his nose creates a bulge in the back of the screen.Enlarge
Do you find yourself fighting the urge to press your nose against the screen because you can't see text and objects clearly? Windows XP and Microsoft applications offer several options that can help, from changing your monitor display settings to increasing the icons or text size of individual documents and Web pages. Review the tutorials:

Built-in Bifocals

Adam types at a regular keyboard while viewing a tiny computer through two giant lenses suspended in front of his monitor.Enlarge
Having trouble seeing things that are close up? Around age 45 for most people, eyes start to lose the ability to adjust their focus to see objects that are near. Microsoft Magnifier, one of the accessibility features in Windows XP, opens a floating window that enlarges different parts of the screen—just like a magnifying glass. Review the tutorial:

Lights, Camera, Action

Adam sits in a film director's chair wearing sunglasses and shouting instructions to his computer through a megaphone.Enlarge
If stiff joints or other dexterity issues are slowing you down, try using the speech recognition features in Office XP and Office 2003 to combine voice commands and dictation with mouse and keyboard commands for a more flexible work environment. Review the tutorial:

Tune Out, Tune In

Adam sits at his computer smiling, a cork in each ear as his children argue in the background.Enlarge
Are you having trouble hearing email alerts and other audible notifications of system events? With SoundSentry, you can make parts of your screen flash whenever a system sound occurs. To "see" speech and other sounds, use Windows XP to display closed captions. Review the tutorial:

Talk to Me

Adam's computer shouts, "Meeting at Noon," the sound blows back his hair and scatters his papers.Enlarge
If your vision is beyond the point where magnification is enough, Narrator in Windows XP can help by converting text and captions to speech. If this problem is persistent, you may need a device called a screen reader. Review the tutorial:

Cursor in a Haystack

Adam is searching through hay on top of a haystack; a mouse pointer is stuck in his backside.Enlarge
If you find yourself searching for your cursor or mouse pointer more often than you search the Web, use Cursor Options to change the size, appearance, width, speed, color and blink rate of your cursor, or the mouse setting in the Control Panel to modify your pointer, to make them easier to see. Review the tutorial:

Losing Your Grip?

Adam's computer mouse squirts from his right hand, arcs through the air, and lands in his coffee cup.Enlarge
Use MouseKeys to transfer mouse functions to your numeric keypad, or try a Microsoft mouse that is designed for maximum comfort. Review the tutorial:

All Together Now

Adam twists himself into knots using both hands and feet to press different keys at once.  His wife calmly pushes one key for the same result.Enlarge
StickyKeys allows you to hit one key at a time to execute commands that usually require simultaneous key combinations, such as using SHIFT to type a capital letter, or CTRL+ALT+DEL to display the task manager. Review the tutorial:

All Shook Up

Adam shakes so badly his coffee spills everywhere.  His computer says, "Maybe you should try decaffeinated first."Enlarge
If you have a mild tremor or your stiff fingers are creating typos and other keyboard errors, FilterKeys can give you the equivalent of a steady hand by enabling your computer to ignore brief or repeated keystrokes that you make accidentally. Review the tutorial:

Easy on the Eyes

One panel, black on white, shows Adam with tired eyes; second panel, white on black, shows Adam happy and rested using high contrast.Enlarge
If the images on your computer screen appear indistinct or don't seem quite as sharp as they once did, choose one of several high-contrast displays to make text easier to read. This is also a great feature if you find that using your portable computer in certain types of light makes text on the screen all but disappear. Review the tutorials:

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