DEAR SAVVY SENIOR: Do you know of any home computers that are specifically designed for senior citizens? I would like to get a computer for my 73-year-old mother, but she’s not computer savvy at all. – Look Around
DEAR LOOKING: There are actually several computers on the market today that are designed specifically for older boomers and seniors who want, and need, things simple. Here are some options to check out.
• Telikin: For seniors that have little or no computer experience the new Telikin “touch-screen” computer is a wonderful option. Ready to go right out of the box, this innovative computer comes pre-loaded with simplified software that makes accessing the web, email, games, video chat, photo sharing, news, weather and more, just a touch of the screen away. And since it runs on Linux software instead of the standard Windows or Mac OS, it’s a virus-free computer too.
The Telikin comes with a sleek 18.6-inch LCD touchscreen (a 20-inch touchscreen will be available in mid to late June), 320-gigabyte hard drive, built-in speakers, webcam, microphone, wired keyboard and mouse, and provides a unique “tech buddy” feature that can help seniors get computer assistance when needed. Priced at $700, (the 20-inch model will retail for $995) Telikin comes with a 60-day trial period, one-year warranty and free support for the first 60 days. Visit telikin.com or call 800-230-3881 to learn more.
It’s also worth noting that Telikin has a partnership with firstSTREET (firststreetonline.com, 800-704-1209), a senior product direct marketing company which is also selling this computer rebranded as the “WOW! Computer for Seniors.”
• Senior PCs: Sold through Enablemart (enablemart.com, 888-640-1999), Senior PCs are Hewlett-Packard computers that also come completely set-up and ready to use, but depending on your mom’s needs, you’ll have several options to choose from.
If you’re looking for simplified “goof-proof” operation, the Autopilot desktop is the best model. This PC comes equipped with QualiWorld software that provides one-click solutions for tasks like letter writing, preparing a document, surfing the Internet, sending and reading emails and much more. The Autopilot also comes with OnTimeRx medication and appointment reminding software, HOYLE Crossword and Sudoku puzzles, a high contrast keyboard, mouse, 17-inch monitor, speakers and a color printe,r all for $1,125. They also offer this same Autopilot computer in a laptop for $1,165.
Or, for seniors with vision problems, the Vision Plus model may be a better fit. This computer comes preconfigured with everything you need to see your PC, including state-of-the-art screen magnification software, a high visibility keyboard, and an all-in-one printer/scanner for scanning in books, mail and other reading materials for magnification. It also comes with OnTimeRx medication reminder software, HOYLE Crossword and Sudoku puzzles, a 17-inch monitor, mouse and external speakers. The price: $1,255 for the Vision Plus desktop, or $1,895 for the laptop edition.
• Kiwi PC: If you’re looking for something more affordable, the new Linux-powered Kiwi PC for seniors is another option to consider. Priced at just $380, this user-friendly computer provides a simplified navigation system, with oversized tool bar, large icons and text that makes it easier to see and use.
Other features include a customizable “Me Menu” that provides quick and easy access to frequently visited websites, email and programs straight from the desktop, a color-coded keyboard, 19-inch monitor, and a toll-free phone support line that’s available 24/7. See kiwipc.com, or call 855-255-5494.
While it’s not designed specifically for seniors, the Apple IPad2 ($499) is another user-friendly option that has gotten great reviews from older users. See apple.com to learn more.
Jim Miller is the author of “The Savvy Senior” book. Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit: