February 13, 2013
Computers for Long-Term Care Residents
Two of the main problems faced by nursing home residents are loneliness and a feeling of being disconnected from the outside world. One of the resources that these folks can use to improve their own efficiency and stay on top of current events and in contact with their families and friends is computers.
It has long been argued that computers can help people, especially those with disabilities, with their connectivity and self esteem. Computers afford the elderly and the disabled with a way to communicate and still be productive.
Keeping in touch with family is easier than ever. There are new computers that are designed for use by senior citizens – all in one computers with large icons. Even regular systems like desktops and laptops are easy to use if the settings are adjusted. Did you know that Windows has a Navigator installed that talks to you? It tells you what icon you are hovering over and more.
Skype is an easy to use program that allows people to have video conferences with other Skype users around the world for free. Residents can even call telephones for a small monthly fee.
Believe it or not, Facebook is more than just a time waster. Residents can keep in contact with family, build online photo albums, create local groups, meet new people, and of course – waste time.
Many nursing home residents use computers not only for communication, but for education and leisure and even rehabilitation and it’s a well known fact that internet access helps with self esteem and can even improve the symptoms of depression and other mental illnesses.
Some people already have their own computers before moving into the facility, but others will need to acquire one once becoming a resident. There are some government agencies who will even supply new or refurbished computers to those with demonstrated need. Laptops are probably the best suited computers for the nursing home. They are small, portable and easy to set up and put away. Desktop computers are an option for those who have the space to set them up. Tablet computers (some which even come with Wi-Fi access) are a newer technology, yet are very popular and are even more portable and space saving than laptops.
Computers themselves can sometimes be difficult for people with disabilities to operate. Fortunately, technology has evolved enough to invent things like voice driven software, adaptive keyboards, foot pedals and even touch screen computers that make computing with disabilities much easier and efficient. Adaptive technology is quickly becoming more accessible and affordable and is available to accommodate virtually any special need.