“I’m too old to use my computer anymore.” Have you heard this from your loved one? If so, don’t take her word for it. There are many things you can do and even more technology available to help her continue to use her computer.

 

  • If her computer is plugged into a surge protector or power strip, put the strip on the desk, not the floor. Use industrial strength Velcro to hold the surge protector in place. This will make it easier to turn the power on and off.
  • Buy a computer table that’s height-adjustable. This will allow her to get her wheelchair under the table (unlike a regular desk). Also, if she has short arms (like me) she can adjust the keyboard height so her wrists aren’t higher than her elbows when she types.
  • If typing is a problem — due to low vision, arthritis, or tremors — a keyboard with keys that are 1-inch square may help. There are many models available online, including some with multi-colored, brightly colored, or back-lit keys.
  • A keyguard — a piece of plastic or metal that fits over the keyboard and has holes cut for each keyboard key — prevents the user from pressing more than one key at a time. It’s particularly useful for people whose hands shake.
  • Speech recognition software obviates the need for a keyboard because it lets your loved one dictate what she has to say. There is speech recognition software that can also fill in online forms, and give commands to open files, search the web, and take notes.
  • Operating systems like Windows 10 have accessibility functions built in. If your loved one uses Windows 10, click on Settings and then on Ease of Access. You’ll see many options for making the computer easier to use, such as a narrator and magnification, among others.