The Computer is My Friend!

I am going to talk about computers again because during this time they may be our best friends. For some of us, the hardest part of staying at home to protect our health and the health of the ones we love is the separation from family and friends. In my personal life, in September and October, I lost two very good friends and my niece to cancer. I could not fly to visit the families or attend the funeral services. I was hurt and angry at Covid-19. But to make it a little less painful, I had my computer, so I was able to stay in touch with my family.

Not all of it has been unhappy; thanks to the computer and my iPhone, I am able to see and talk to other family members and friends. It is helpful because I like to see the people I am talking to, and there are great computer programs that can make that happen.

I am sure that some of our members are in the same boat, staying at home, avoiding restaurants, having your groceries and prescriptions delivered. Gone are the casual lunch dates, movies, and window shopping. We know this is going to be our lives in some form, the experts say until summer and potentially to the end of 2021. So, the computer is our friend and our lifeline.

If you are still uncomfortable around a computer and you cannot go out to classes, here are some things that you can do:

  1. If you have an upper elementary, middle school or high school student that you get to see, talk to them about helping you. When my mom took computer classes at KCC, the computer lab was at Kahala Elementary and the sixth graders acted as tutors and coaches for the senior citizens. School children can be a great resource.

  2. If you can learn through reading, the Dummies books are a great resource. You can begin with "Computers for Seniors." There is "Macs for Seniors." Even if you are too young to be a senior, those books can be helpful for beginners. All the "Dummies" books are available on Amazon.

  3. If you are comfortable with having someone in your home, you can contact Student Services at UH, Chaminade or BYU-Hawaii and advertise for a student to tutor you on using the computer.

If you are comfortable using a computer, there are some applications that you may find useful either on the computer or your Smartphone to visually communicate with your friends and family. FaceTime is the application for the IOS system or Apple. The Android system has several apps you can use such as Google Duo or Facebook Messenger.

If you want to connect with more than one person at a time, the most widely used application is Zoom. You can download a free application which gives you 40 minutes of free time. If you want more time, it can be purchased. Zoom is most used for meetings such as the HEA meetings. If you are going to talk with less than five friends or family members, House Party is the application for you.

In addition, your doctor probably can see you via visual consultations and there are counseling applications to help you to deal with any mental health problems you may face.

Hopefully, you will enjoy using your computer and it will bring you connections with family and friends. Stay safe and we will get through this together.

- By Joan Lee Husted

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