DEAR SAVVY SENIOR: Do you know of any computer software that's designed for seniors that I can download on an old computer that I have? I would like to set my grandmother up with a senior-friendly system for email and Internet access, but I don't want to spend a lot of money.
DEAR SEARCHING: There are actually a number of companies and services today that offer simplified computer software that's designed specifically for seniors who have little or no computer experience.
These software packages can transform most Microsoft Windows personal computers (PCs) — some work with Macs and tablets, too — into a much simpler computer experience that provides seniors easy access to most functions like sending and receiving email, browsing the Internet, making video calls, looking at photos, playing games and more. Here are some top options to check out.
Since it's completely free, a good place to start is at Eldy, an Italian nonprofit organization that provides simplified computer software in 25 different languages including English. Available to download at www.eldy.eu, this software works on PCs that use Windows and Linux systems, Macs and Android tablets.
Once installed, Eldy converts the computer's desktop into a simple six-button menu that has large text, color contrasts and simplified instructions (no confusing icons) that makes it easy to see, understand and operate.
The six-button menu puts seniors literally one-click-of-the-mouse away from simplified versions of email, the Web, Skype for video calls, chat groups, a simple word processing program and more.
It's also worth noting that Eldy software works on touch-screen computers too, and they also offer online tech-support.
If, however, you don't mind spending a little money, there are also a number of companies that offer software similar to Eldy, but provide a few extra enticing features. One of the best deals is offered through SeeYouLink (seeyoulink.com), which has a three-month free trial and charges only $4.95 per month after that.