My 87-year-old mother-in-law received a gift this week that she hates. It’s a book that she calls Computers for Old People Who Are Dummies, better known to the rest of us as Computers for Seniors for Dummies. She and my 91-year-old father-in-law were given it by one of their children not-so-secretly hopes it might reduce the number of “support calls” she receives.
My mother-in-law doesn’t hate the book per se – it’s pretty good and no doubt she’ll find it helpful. What turns her off is the word “Seniors” in the title. It’s a love-hate thing she’s had going with the word ever since she turned 65. Seniors discounts at the movies? Good. Being thought of as a senior with all the stereotypes that come with the word? Not so good.
She’s not alone. According to a study in the Journals of Gerontology Psychological Science, older people tend to feel roughly 13 years younger than their chronological age. And, according to Jacqui Smith, a psychologist at the University of Michigan Institute for Social Research and one of the authors of the study, this is probably a good thing. “Feeling positive about getting older may well be associated with remaining active and experiencing better health in old age,” said Smith.
One way to remain active is by staying connected with family and friends, something that’s a challenge for older people who are retired, sometimes less mobile and whose families are far flung. One of the biggest benefits of a program like PointerWare is that it lets people with little or no computer experience easily connect online. And it’s so easy to learn and to use that no one will ever feel like a dummy – old or otherwise.
- Posted by Karen