Computers are for everyone — part 2 |

Computers are for everyone — part 2

Michael Farrell
Staff Photo |

Once you decide to explore this world, you will need use of a computer that is connected to the Internet.

Many families own multiple computers these days, and it’s not uncommon that they have an extra one laying around the house. If you have no experience using computers you’ll need help. Ideally, you can have a family member or friend help you get started.

Reading about using a computer on your own can get complicated. If you want to do so, you might try one of the many computer magazines available, along with one of the popular, simplified guides like “Computers For Seniors For Dummies” or “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Using Your Computer-for Seniors.”

Do make sure any computer guide you purchase has a recent publishing date. Any book written more than even a couple of years ago will contain some outdated information.

Whatever sources you decide to use there will be a lot of information to take in, so set modest goals for each session. If you can figure out how to do only one or two things at a time, that’s OK. Over time your abilities will increase. Patience is key and don’t be afraid to get in there and start exploring, clicking on buttons. You’re not going to break it.

If you don’t have access to a computer, you might try your local library. Garfield County libraries offer free use of computers connected to the Internet. You will need to join the library if you’re not already a member.

I have found the staff at our local Parachute branch to be invariably helpful and friendly. They are always happy to assist with short-term computer questions.

If you think you will need more time, you can make an appointment for their “book a librarian” program and receive help for up to 30 minutes per session.

If you already have a laptop computer but no Internet access, you can take it to the library and log on to their Internet via a wireless connection called wi-fi. Most modern laptops have this ability built in. For older laptops an inexpensive wi-fi card may need to be added.

Colorado Mountain College in Rifle is offering free computer classes on Tuesday evenings 6-9 p.m., and on Thursday mornings from 9 a.m. until noon. The Tuesday classes focus how using particular programs. The Thursday morning classes are more basic and appropriate for someone just getting started.

The Rifle campus is located at 3695 Airport Road, and the computer classes are in room 120. Anyone interested can call Jeana at 379-3961 for more information. Walk-ins are welcome, but it is requested that you arrive promptly at the class start time.

Grandchildren are another excellent resource that is easy to overlook.

These days,children grow up using computers and are very comfortable with them. I have found that kids are invariably happy to help an older person who may be struggling to do something on the computer. They may already know all about it, or be able to figure out a solution for you. And if it’s your grandchild, this will also give you a new way to spend quality time together.

Michael Farrell is the activity director and adult day program director at Mesa Vista Assisted Living in Battlement Mesa. He can be reached at

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