New technology for older generation

Staff writer

Neva Applegate enjoys looking at pictures of her grandkids as they scroll across the screen of her Mac computer.

Applegate, whose son set her up with a computer in 1995, is part of a growing number of seniors using computers. She uses hers to write emails and play games.

Residents of Marion Assisted Living, where Applegate resides, can use their own computer or a shared one available to everyone.

Staff say they are more than willing to show residents who want to use computer programs.

“We don’t offer classes, but if the resident wants to use the computer or needs help we will help them,” Director Bonnie Sawyer said.

One resident who used the computer is retired physician Cranford Ensey, who writes summaries of articles on it.

A computer is also available at Marion Senior Center.

Rhonda Brenzikofer, a Senior Center patron, said her biggest problem was pop ups.

“They’re like junk you get in the mail,” she said.

She uses her home computer and the guest one at the center to keep in touch with her kids and grandkids through email and Facebook.

She took computer classes to learn how to use them.

“I want to learn more, but the classes I can find are mostly basic skills and I’m past those,” she said.

Senior Center head cook Kathy West said she would like to see the senior center offer those classes.

“I think it would be an excellent idea, but it’s one of those things best learned by following along with the instructor on your own machine, and we only have one available,” West said.

If the center could come up with more computers, she said it could have classes.

West uses computers for work.

“I use the computer at the senior center to order food and to look up recipes,” she said.

She also uses the computer for information, news, and weather. She thinks everyone should know computer basics.

“Everything is getting so computerized now a days,” she said. “It would be so much easier for people if they had simple computer skills.”

Because things are so computerized, it could save seniors time and money, West said.

“You can file for Social Security online, bank online, and even order medicine online,” she said. “It would be so helpful, but they’re afraid of learning something different.”

West thinks the homebound would benefit the most.

“They could do so many things without having to leave their home. It would be a wonderful tool,” she said.

She thinks people are afraid of learning because they do not like change.

“It’s a big change, and nobody likes that,” she said. “Also, if you don’t know what you’re doing it can take a long time to figure out.”

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