Dad keeps having trouble with his computer! How can I help him?

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My dad seems to have a problem with his computer every time he uses it. We first set him up with an Apple iMac and that seemed too confusing. Then we set up a Windows PC, making sure that all he had to select was his Eldy account to get email and access the internet. Now he's having more problems and my husband says the whole thing is a mess.

Dad likes the idea of having it, but he's having trouble catching on. He cannot seem to read instructions (never has) so anytime he has to make a selection based on an instruction, he's lost. Even though I would love for him to be able to get emails (at the very least) and wish he would take more interest in exploring the internet, I'm getting fed up.

He's 87 and he is not senile, but he has decided that he cannot understand a variety of things, especially if it takes any kind of concentrated effort. I looked into getting him an email-only computer, but the one's I could find didn't support graphics and I think it's the pictures he enjoys most. Then, of course, he wants to print the email so he can show it to his friends (that turns into another problem).

He's a nice person and I know he's having a difficult time with aging. I didn't realize how much he depended on my mom and now she has some kind of dementia so Dad is in charge. I want to help him and want him to enjoy life as much as possible, but I'm really lost on this one.

I guess I'm wondering if anyone else has run into this sort of thing and been able to come up with a solution of some kind. My latest is figuring out how to completely erase the hard drive and then re-install Windows just to clean things up and get the computer running again. Right now, it has all kinds of things popping up and it's even a pain for me!!!

He wants me to stop by every time I talk to him so I can look at the computer. The whole thing is a mess. Help!

P.S. I wish this forum would allow us to PREVIEW before we submit a question or an answer. It would make it a lot easier to edit and/or correct spelling errors.

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Thanks for all the great ideas. He ended up getting a Kindle Fire and I think he really likes it. We were able to set up an email account with Hotmail which seems to work fine. He had one called "Eldy" on his computer and it was okay, but it made me realize how difficult it can be to understand a program when it's not familiar. I was always getting confused with Eldy!

What makes the Kindle Fire nice is it's easy for him to carry it with him. My husband and I decided to share our Amazon account with him so we were able to put some books on his new tablet. Also, I forwarded a couple of emails to him. One had some beautiful photos of animals and another had a link to a really cute video of a cat. He really got a charge out of that and couldn't believe he could also hear sound!

I know he's still going to have questions and I'll have to help him, but being able to touch the screen (instead of using a mouse) seems to be a lot easier for him. There is also an easily accessible "home" key that makes it easy for him to go back to the beginning if he gets too confused.

My husband and I both have iPads, but we are both really impressed with the Kindle Fire. Great idea naheaton!!
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You might check out a program like Coglink which reduces email to its most basic functions. There are no hidden menus. Your father can keep track of conversations. It can also be set to only receive email from a set list of senders to avoid spam.
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There are computer programs you can get that allow someone to "take control" of a computer remotely. It's especially common for PCs (Go To My PC is one I used years ago, when I needed it for other reasons). If you get it installed on his computer, you can help him from where ever you are. And you won't have to buy a new computer.
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We are in Colorado and my mom is in Ohio. We simply log in and her screen appears in real time on ours. We can then show her how to navigate through any problem she is having. LogMeIn's hope is that you will upgrade but the free one works just fine.
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You might want to sewriously consider a senior-friendly computer called the Telikin. It is an easy-to-use touchscreen computer that alos offers an optional large letter keyboard. You can send & receive eMails, playback DVDs/CDs, video chat with family members, read headline news, track the weather, play entertaining games ... the list goes on & on. Not running on Microsoft windows eliminates viruses, etc. is a headache reliever. The 'Tech Buddy" utility will allow you to remotely access your Dad's computer to assist/respond to his computer questions without having to stop by to do the same.
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What about having a person come and sit by him and guide him for an hour a day? Or, two. He might catch on with this help after a few weeks or a month. You could pay them so much a week or an hour. That is simple. I help my Mother with her emails often. She used to know how to do it all by herself, but from time to time she forgets a step.
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Since you are there a lot maybe for now he can use it when you are there-it may take time but in time he will probably be able to do emails at least-tell him not to be afraid to try things-it took me a long time to get it with the computer and I asked a million questions but now I miss it when i have a problem with it and can't use it. I f he can do one thing on it -it will give him confidence to try another thing. Maybe you could write out instructions to at least do email-I think you can do email on Kindle or Nook-but am not sure. Some people play games on the computer. Just praise for whatever he can do and in time he will get more adventering on his own.
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We initially thought of an iPad, but it's a lot of money. However, the Kindle Fire might be a good idea.

Yes, we could print his stuff but he was actually doing pretty good with that as long as everything was working. I go over often enough that I can usually print something for him at his place, so you make a valid point Blannie.

Now, I'm thinking if we got him a Kindle Fire, he could take that with him and show his friends anything that's been downloaded to his email. I wonder if there's an email app for it?

Thank you both!
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I often just wound up printing out pictures and taking them to my mom and dad. My dad got his first computer at 80 and used it up until he died at 92, but he'd often get stuck. Sometimes it was so funny to see what he'd tried to do. And doing tech support over the phone was impossible. :-) My mom refused to ever touch a computer, so when my dad died, that was it.

It might be easier to at least handle the printer and pictures on your end. I've even resorted to printing out pictures and mailing them to my mom, rather than driving over there to deliver them. She likes getting mail, so it would solve two issues at once. Good luck, I feel your pain!
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What about an IPAD? Or maybe a Kindle Fire?
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