SeniorNet needs your help: A letter from the Chairman

Written By: Guest Contributor - Jan• 18•13

Screen Shot 2013-01-18 at 10.10.53 AMAs SeniorNet reaches the end of our 26th year, we would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support over the past years. It is only with help from people like you that SeniorNet has been able to fulfill our mission (enhancing the lives of older adults and those with a need of computer training and technology education).
Look at some of what we accomplished in 2012:

  • We opened new centers
    • Quinault Indian Reservation, Learning Center, WA
    • Second Union Baptist Church, Learning Center, Washington D.C.
    • An International Research Center for product and services for those “50 years old and better”, Brooklyn, New York.
  • SeniorNet Social Media was created to extend education and awareness
    • Our blog:  Social Media Scoop for Seniors
    • SeniorNet on Facebook
    • SeniorNet on Twitter
  • We launched new partnerships
    • GrandMentor Program, giving members the opportunity to volunteer by reading to underserved elementary school children via Skype.
    • Vistaprint, providing logo’d marketing collateral to SeniorNet Centers to increase their awareness in their local communities.
  • New Membership benefits/discounts with more new partners  ( Holiday Membership Benefits )
    • Telikin, all-in-one, easy-to-use touchscreen computers designed with seniors in mind offers significant product discounts to our entire membership. The Telikin has been piloted in centers with seniors that are impaired and the feedback has been fantastic.
    • Clarity (division of Plantronics), provided new amplified cellphones designed uniquely for seniors to SeniorNetleaders and is offering holiday discounts to SeniorNet
    • Pearson QUE Publishing, one of the largest computer book publishers in the world, offers special discounts and tutorial reference products to our centers and members.

As you know, the world is becoming increasingly connected through the internet, and it is more important than ever before for seniors to know essential computer skills. To this point – with the support of our strategic partners, we were able to provide the latest Microsoft and Adobe software to our centers, as well as SeniorNet‘s user-friendly curriculum (student instruction) for all ages.

We know you receive many requests for donations, and we know your money is important to you. Please take a moment to consider helping us to make a difference.

Please know that any contribution from you, large or small, will go a long way empowering seniors and those that need new technology skills.

Go to SeniorNet.org and click on Donate Today!
Or mail your check/money order to:
SeniorNet
12801 Worldgate Drive
Suite 500
Herndon, VA 20170

Remember, SeniorNet is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and any donation you make is fully tax-deductible!

We have a lot planned for 2013 and hope you will continue supporting SeniorNet‘s mission.

Thank you again for your loyalty and dedication over the past years.
Sincerely,
Leslie Smith signature
Leslie M. Smith
SeniorNet Chairman

Best Resources for Senior Discounts

Written By: Guest Contributor - Jan• 16•13

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Jim T. Miller of SavvySenior.org is full of great tips and advice for seniors. Recently, he wrote an article in the Huffington Post about how to find discounts if you’re 50 or older. Here are a few highlights we thought SMSS (Social Media Scoop for Seniors) readers might like!

One of the great perks of growing older in the U.S. is the many discounts that are available to boomers and seniors. If you don’t mind admitting your age, here are some tips and tools to help you find them.

Always Ask
The first thing to know is that not all businesses advertise them, but many give senior discounts just for asking, so don’t ever be shy to ask. You also need to know that while some discounts are available as soon as you turn 50, many others may not kick in until you turn 55, 60, 62 or 65.

Search Online
Because senior discounts are constantly changing and can vary greatly depending on where you live and the time of the year, the Internet is one of your best resources for locating them.

To get started go to SeniorDiscounts.com, a massive website that lists more than 250,000 discounts on a wide variety of products and services like airlines, car rentals, travel, recreation, local transportation, shopping, restaurants, hotels, state and national parks, medical services, pharmacies, museums and more. You can search for discounts by city and state or ZIP code, or by the category you’re interested in, for free. Or, for $13 you can become a premium member and get additional, select discounts.

Another great website for locating 50-and-older discounts is Sciddy.com. Launched in 2011, this site also lets you search for free by city, state or ZIP code, as well as by business or category.

Join a Club
Another good avenue to senior discounts is through membership organizations like AARP, which offers its 50 and older members a wide variety of discounts through affiliate businesses (see discounts.aarp.org). Annual AARP membership fees are $16, or less if you join for multiple years.

If, however, you’re not a fan of AARP, there are other alternative organizations you can join that also provide discounts such as The Seniors Coalition or the American Seniors Association. Or, for federal workers, there’s the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.

Click here to read the full article on Huffington Post.

 

Tech-Savvy Boomers Must Keep Privacy, Security in Mind

Written By: Guest Contributor - Jan• 08•13

The baby boomer generation has always been open to change, a characteristic that is still evident as they enter their senior years. Today’s older adults are eager to stay on pace with their younger counterparts in terms of technology, which is why many assisted livingcommunities offer internet access and classes for residents who want to keep up with the latest gadgets. But a new study from AVG Technologies finds that while boomers have embraced technology, many are uninformed about basic security and privacy techniques to keep their identities safe.

Researchers interviewed a group of 1,300 adults between the ages of 46 and 64 about their use of technology and the measures they have taken to keep their devices safe. They found that the majority of older adults own desktop computers, and 61 of them percent use laptops. Around 30 percent of baby boomers own a smartphone, and 20 percent shop online using a tablet computer.

Unfortunately, older adults may be missing out on some of the opportunities the web offers to help protect their identities and keep finances secure. Around 65 percent of respondents said they don’t check their online banking statements more than once a week. Keeping an eye on bank statements can help seniors identify fraudulent purchases quickly.

Seniors who use mobile devices should also take steps to keep ward off viruses, hackers and identity theft. Around 60 percent of survey respondents said they don’t use a password to protect their cell phone, and another 20 percent said they have shared their password with at least one other person.

Baby boomers must be especially careful when it comes to technology safety, as they can be seen as targets by scammers.

-Click here to read full story-

Sunrise Senior Living’s unique resident-centered services are delivered by a team trained to encourage the independence, preserve the dignity, enable freedom of choice and protect the privacy of each resident we serve. This approach is what enables us to continue championing quality of life for all seniors — it’s been our mission since 1981 and it’s what has made Sunrise one of the premier providers of senior living services.

 

Love at First Click: 8 Tips for Finding Love Online

Written By: Kim Hong - Dec• 23•12

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Have you considered finding love or companionship via an online dating site? Whether you are 21 or 61, if you are meeting a potential partner through an online dating site you must take safety precautions.

We used to think the only way to meet Mr./Ms. Right was in college, on the job, or through family and friends. Today, more and more people are meeting their partners through online dating — especially if they’re over 50. Numerous studies have found that older adults are the fastest growing segment of online-dating services.

So if you’re looking for love, this can be an ideal option. Here are some tips from AARP for efficient, effective and safe online dating:

  • Be sure you’re ready. If you’re not ready to date, you simply aren’t in a position to find a healthy relationship. To do so, you need to feel reasonably happy and confident of your worth. If you’re still angry or hurt from a past relationship, wait a bit. You need to feel positive, open and up for an adventure. If you’re having trouble getting to the right mental space, you might consider seeing a therapist.
  • Do your homework. There are all kinds of online dating sites, so spend some time on the computer researching what looks best for you. Decide if you’re interested in a “pay to play” or one that’s free. (You are probably safer using a pay site since everyone has to use their credit card and provide identification.) Of the pay sites, match.com is the biggest, but there are all kinds of boutique services if you’d prefer to better target your dream date.
  • Enlist your friends. Ask for help when you’re choosing a picture and filling out a profile form that tells potential dates who you are. You need an objective eye on this. You might think it’s a great picture, but maybe your friend doesn’t. Trust your friend. You may think your short rendition about yourself is enticing — but maybe it comes off as arrogant or too timid, or has too much about your kids and not enough about you. Give it to a few friends to review.
  • Avoid clichés in your profile. You will discover why when you read what others write about themselves. There are just too many people out there who “like long walks on the beach” or “enjoy theater, fine restaurants and exotic travel.” Whatever you write, make sure it expresses the goals, values and lifestyle choices that make you distinct.
  • Don’t limit your options. Be judicious about how you answer questions about what you’re looking for in a partner. Some sites ask about your “deal breakers,” that is things you absolutely don’t want. If you make your list of do’s and don’ts too long, it will limit the possibilities. So only put seriously disqualifying or absolutely necessary things in that list. (For example, ditch the requirement that he has at least a master’s degree but keep the one that says he can’t be a smoker).
  • Stay safe. When you find someone you are interested in — or someone finds you — exercise caution. At least initially, talk on your mobile phone instead of your home phone, which can be linked to your address. For a first date, meet in a safe public place — a coffee shop is ideal. Until you know the person better and are confident he is who he claims to be, don’t let a date drive you anywhere or even walk you to your car if it’s a secluded place. Though most people are honest and well-meaning, you shouldn’t take any risks at all.
  • Take your time. One of the advantages to online dating — meeting people you never would have met otherwise — is also a disadvantage. Since the people you meet are coming from outside your network, you don’t know people who can vouch for them.  So you need to be super cautious.  Don’t automatically trust everything your date tells you, no matter how sincere he or she may seem.  It takes time to be really sure that this person is who he says he is — and that he’s being honest about his intentions.  On that topic, you should be honest about what you’re looking for in terms of a relationship, too. Some online daters are only out for a good time, while others (the majority, I believe) are looking for a serious relationship.
  • Be resilient. It may take a while to meet Mr. or Ms. Right. Some people are lucky right off the bat: They meet that perfect someone quickly, the feelings are mutual, and the relationship gets serious. Many more people, though, don’t have that kind of luck: They meet many people who don’t interest them or who don’t show any interest. It can take many, many coffee shop dates before you find someone who is right for you. Still, it’s worth it. If you think of these dates as an opportunity to expand your social life, you will find that you can enjoy the coffee — even if the person has no long-term prospects. But if you stick it out and keep trying, you eventually find that very special someone.

For more tips about online dating, visit www.aarp.org and click on the Home & Family section!

Before Thanksgiving, make a gift to fight senior hunger

Written By: Kim Hong - Nov• 19•12

Last year, UnitedHealthcare employees volunteered at events designed to eradicate senior hunger in southern California. As part of the “Do Good. Live Well.” volunteer initiative, employees packed food boxes at the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank and Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County. In addition to the volunteer projects, UnitedHealthcare offices in the Los Angeles and Orange County areas will be hosting food drives. Both of these “Do Good. Live Well.” volunteer events are in support of AARP’s Drive to End Hunger campaign, which seeks to end hunger among seniors.

 

Across the country, nearly 9 million older Americans struggle with hunger. Many must make the difficult choice between paying for food, medicine, or heat – a decision no one should have to make.

AARP Foundation is working to prevent hunger among older adults – this Thanksgiving and beyond – by connecting seniors with community resources, improving the quality of items at food banks, and more. But with winter approaching and new challenges in the year ahead, we urgently need more resources to continue this life-changing work.

For more information, visit AARP’s Drive to End Hunger and make your secure, tax-deductible donation today to help struggling seniors this holiday season!

Virtual Senior Center Enhances Lives of Homebound Seniors

Written By: Kim Hong - Nov• 14•12

An incredible story about how technology is helping seniors stay connected with loved ones. You might want to grab a box of tissues before watching this video!

A partnership with Microsoft, IN2L (It’s Never 2 Late) and Selfhelp uses technology to create a Virtual Senior Center to help residents connect with loves ones in the community, nation and around the world. IN2L has placed its product in more than 800 nursing homes, assisted living communities and adult day programs so far.

“Seniors are empowered to connect and communicate online, to immerse themselves in rich multimedia experiences, to play, to explore, create, to revisit and document their histories. In short, to be engaged in a multitude of ways that help them remain physically and mentally active.

IN2L uses an easy touch-screen interface that allows each resident to have their own profile that they can access just by touching the screen. Touching picture-based icons on the screen gives the individual access to a wide variety of experiences, games and therapies, including simulation programs like driving, flying and biking.” - Mel Fabrikant, The Paramus Post

***A special thanks to Microsoft for teaming up with SeniorNet to support our mission in bringing technology to seniors! This partnership includes workshops,  teaching tools, curriculum and materials for SeniorNet centers to share with members, students and center visitors .  This gracious effort including the Windows 7 operating system grant, along with their previous grants and grants from other major sponsors has positioned SeniorNet to be the leader in providing computer training to seniors in the United States.

 

The Savvy Senior: Computers Designed for Seniors

Written By: Guest Contributor - Oct• 25•12


A number of companies offer computers designed for seniors and ready to go right out of the box!

Here are a few options to consider:

Telikin: For seniors who have little or no computer experience the new Telikin “touch-screen” computer is a wonderful option. Ready to go right out of the box, this innovative computer comes pre-loaded with simplified software that makes accessing the Web, email, games, video chat, photo sharing, news, weather and more, just a touch of the screen away. And since it runs on Linux software instead of the standard Windows or Mac OS, it’s a virus-free computer too.

The Telikin comes with a sleek 18.6-inch LCD touchscreen (a 20-inch touchscreen will be available in mid to late June), 320-gigabyte hard drive, built-in speakers, webcam, microphone, wired keyboard and mouse, and provides a unique “tech buddy” feature that can help seniors get computer assistance when needed. Priced at $700, (the 20-inch model will retail for $995) Telikin comes with a 60-day trial period, 1-year warranty and free support for the first 60 days. Visit telikin.com or call 800-230-3881 to learn more.

It’s also worth noting that Telikin has a partnership with firstSTREET (firststreetonline.com, 800-704-1209), a senior product direct marketing company which is also selling this computer rebranded as the “WOW! Computer for Seniors.”

Senior PCs: Sold through Enablemart (enablemart.com, 888-640-1999), Senior PCs are Hewlett-Packard computers that also come completely set-up and ready use, but depending on your mom’s needs, you’ll have several options to choose from.

If you’re your looking for simplified “goof-proof” operation, the Autopilot desktop is the best model. This PC comes equipped with QualiWorld software that provides one-click solutions for tasks like letter writing, preparing a document, surfing the Internet, sending and reading emails and much more. The Autopilot also comes with OnTimeRx medication and appointment reminding software, Hoyle Crossword and Sudoku puzzles, a high-contrast keyboard, mouse, 17-inch monitor, speakers and a color printer all for $1,125. They also offer this same Autopilot computer in a laptop edition for $1,165.

Or, for seniors with low vision their Vision Plus model may be a better fit. This computer comes pre-configured with everything you need to see your PC, including state-of-the-art screen magnification software, a high-visibility keyboard, and an all-in-one printer/scanner for scanning in books, mail and other reading materials for magnification. It also comes with OnTimeRx medication reminder software, Hoyle Crossword and Sudoku puzzles, a 17-inch monitor, mouse and external speakers. The price: $1,255 for the Vision Plus desktop, or $1,895 for the laptop edition.

MyGait: Another popular computer is MyGait, which runs $799 or $899 plus a $20 monthly service fee.

Savvy Tip: While it’s not designed specifically for seniors, the Apple iPad2 ($499) is another user-friendly option that has gotten great reviews from older users. See apple.com to learn more.

Watch Savvy Senior’s Jim Miller review of the Telikin Computer!

Have you tried a Telikin or MyGait computer? What was it like? Do you haveany other computer recommendations for seniors?

About the Guest Contributor:
Jim Miller, a contributor to the NBC Today show, is the author of “The Savvy Senior” book. Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org
Savvy Senior is a media/information service devoted to baby boomers and senior citizens, and the families who support them. Savvy Senior offers unbiased information through a variety of outlets.

The New Facebook User: Senior Citizens [Infographic]

Written By: Kim Hong - Oct• 11•12

Are seniors becoming the new power user on Facebook? The landscape of Facebook is constantly changing and few are aware that people over 65 are taking classes about Facebook and using it as a social outlet and gaming source more and more everyday. SeniorNet was among the first to foresee this growing trend, which is why it offers social media courses as part of its curriculum.

This infographic illustrates the rampant growth of seniors using Facebook!

How to Stop Junk Mail and Prevent Mail Fraud

Written By: Guest Contributor - Oct• 03•12

Millions of seniors get bombarded with unwanted junk mail these days, including mail fraud schemes that you need to be particularly leery of. Here’s how you can stop junk mail and prevent mail fraud.

Senior Alert
While junk mail comes in many different forms – credit card applications, sweepstakes entries, magazine offers, coupon mailers, donation requests, political fliers, catalogs and more – the most troublesome type that all seniors need to beware of is mail fraud. This is the junkiest of junk mail that comes from con artists who are only trying to take your money.

Mail fraud can be tricky to detect because there are many different types of schemes out there that may seem legitimate. Some of the most common mail scams targeting seniors today are fake checks (see fakechecks.org), phony sweepstakes, foreign lotteries, free prize or vacation scams, donation requests from charities or government agencies that don’t exist, get-rich chain letters, work-at-home schemes, inheritance and investment scams, and many more. If you’re getting any type of junk mail that is asking for money in exchange for free gifts or winnings, or if you’re receiving checks that require you to wire money, you need to call the U.S. Postal Inspector Service at 877-876-2455 and report it, and then throw it away.

Unfortunately, once a person gets on these mail fraud mailing lists it’s very difficult to get off. That’s because these criminals regularly trade and sell mailing lists of people who they believe to be susceptible to fraud, and they won’t remove a name when you request it. Knowing this, a good first step to help protect yourself is to understand the different kinds of mail fraud and what to watch for. The Postal Inspection Service offers some great publications and videos (see postalinspectors.uspis.gov) that can help with this.

If you are compelled to donate to certain charities, make sure they’re legitimate. You can do this through your state’s attorney general or charity regulator’s office – see nasconet.org for contact information. Or, at charity watchdog sites like charitywatch.orggive.org and charitynavigator.org.

Reduce Junk Mail
While scam artists aren’t likely to take your name off their mailing lists, most legitimate mail-order businesses will. To do this, start with the Direct Marketing Association which offers a consumer opt-out service at dmachoice.org. This won’t eliminate all your junk mail, but it will reduce it. The opt-out service is free if you register online, or $1 by mail.

Then, to put a stop to the credit card and insurance offers you get, call the consumer credit reporting industry opt-out service at 888-567-8688, and follow the automated prompts to opt out for either five years or permanently. Be prepared to give your Social Security number and date of birth. You can also do this online at optoutprescreen.com. If you choose the permanent opt-out, you’ll have to send a form in the mail.

Some other resources that can help are the National Do Not Call Registry (888-382-1222) which will cut down on your telemarketing calls. And catalogchoice.org, a free service that lets you opt out of the unwanted catalogs.

Savvy Tip: If you don’t want to hassle with stopping the junk mail yourself, you can hire a private company (like 41pounds.org or stopthejunkmail.com) to do it for you for a small fee.

About the Guest Contributor:
Jim Miller, a contributor to the NBC Today show, is the author of “The Savvy Senior” book. Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org
Savvy Senior is a media/information service devoted to baby boomers and senior citizens, and the families who support them. Savvy Senior offers unbiased information through a variety of outlets.

The Savvy Senior: Simplified Computer Software for Seniors

Written By: Guest Contributor - Aug• 30•12

Q: 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.

A: There are actually a number of companies and services that offer simplified computer software designed specifically for seniors who have little or no computer experience.

These software packages can transform mostMicrosoft Windows personal computers (PCs) — some work with Macsand 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 op-tions to check out.

Free software

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.

Fee-based services

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.

SeeYouLink’s web-based software will transform any mouse-operated or touch-screen Windows-based PC, into a simplified big-button operating system with large fonts and color contrasts. This will give your grandmother easy access to a host of functions that she can select from like email, Web browsing, video calling, brain-fitness games, movies, Facebook, a calendar that sends reminders and much more.

In addition, this service also provides a “remote access” feature that will give you and other family members the ability to access your grandmother’s computer system from literally any computer anywhere in the world, so you can help her set things up, show her websites, scheduled appointments, or guide her through any other questions or problems she might have. And, when you or your grandmother needs help, SeeYouLink offers free tech-support both online and over the phone.

In addition to SeeYouLink, some other companies worth a look that offer similar services include InTouchLink (intouchlink.com), which can be used on a PC, Mac or iPad and costs $13.75 per month or $150 per year. Pointer Ware (pointerware.com), which works on Windows PCs and costs a one-time fee of $149, or you can subscribe monthly for $8 per month. And BigScreenLive (bigscreenlive.com), that operates on Windows PCs and runs $9.95 per month for an annual membership.

About the Guest Contributor:
Jim Miller, a contributor to the NBC Today show, is the author of “The Savvy Senior” book. Send your senior questions to: Savvy Senior, P.O. Box 5443, Norman, OK 73070, or visit SavvySenior.org
Savvy Senior is a media/information service devoted to baby boomers and senior citizens, and the families who support them. Savvy Senior offers unbiased information through a variety of outlets.