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Computing for the over-80s high on cloud nine

Marco’s grandma and grandpa get to grips with FaceTime

Hey Marco, I had the iCloud put on my iPad. Now I can’t even do anything with it. I figure before I give up the computer, I’m gonna have to download all of my music and all that. They didn’t tell me that was going to happen — I did it at the Apple Store here…

I feel for Marco Arment in his efforts to suport his grandparents’ computing activities from a considerable distance. As he says, “they just didn’t have computers for the first 80 years of their lives, and they’d rather not spend their current years dicking around with Windows malware or Apple IDs.”

The good thing is that, with support, older people can enjoy the benefits of basic computing and can keep in touch. Maintaining contact with friends and relatives and simply having an interactive window on the world is absolutely vital as we get older.

Even I spent the first 35 years of my life without computers but I feel belong to the first computer generation. I can well understand the benefits of connectivity as I get older. The generation before mine, including Marco’s grandparents, grew up in a world of listening and watching but without the ability to chat for free with friends around the world, order cheap goods for home delivery and enjoy the psychological benefits of being in touch. Things will be different for my generation.

by Mike Evans, 27 September 2012