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Kayak8's avatar

What do you know about email machines for an older person who doesn't "do" computers?

Asked by Kayak8 (16447points) December 24th, 2010

A friend asked me to pose this question to the Fluther community. Her parents are in their 80s and have a computer that they do not use. She and her sister are thinking about getting them an email machine (apparently works through the phone line) that will print out messages from a pre-approved list of addresses. In this way, they can send photos of the kids etc. and make it easy on the parents.

Have any of you had experience with email only machines? If so, what brands seem to work, what do you recommend or suggest she might want to avoid? Also, do the machines allow the elderly parents to respond via email or do they just print incoming messages?

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3 Answers

funkdaddy's avatar

We tried this with my wife’s grandmother who is 92 now, the machine was pretty limited but let her respond in addition to printing it out. If I remember right, the one she had required an additional printer though so it wasn’t an all-in-one sort of thing. Unfortunately I don’t remember the brand.

It broke so we just set her up with a normal computer that she left on all the time, it had very few icons on the desktop and one she could click that would open a browser and go straight to yahoo so she just had to sign in and check her email. It turns out she was just scared that there’d be too much going on with a full computer and once it was set up really simply for her she liked it better this way (she liked the better monitor that was easier for her to read, she got news on the front page of yahoo, etc).

She was mostly just intimidated by what she thought was complex, once she was over that the full computer was a better (and cheaper) solution in her case.

world_hello's avatar

You might want to look into a iPad. It is very easy to use. And I have taught older people to use them with very little hassle. The only problem is they need wifi or to pay the 3G bill.

As far as the email things go. I haven’t heard of them being made for a long time. And they are super slow. Like 28.8k modem slow.

LuckyGuy's avatar

I set my mom up with WebTV. She wrote tons of emails and sent her address to friends who circulated it with jokes and other junk. It did not take long for it to be full of spam and getting hundreds of emails a day. She stopped using it because it was too much work.

The lesson here is you can’t just buy a device and get a service. You have to teach your parents the rules of the road and reinforce it many times.
Mine actually replied to Dr. Mugab Mumbai in Nigeria that he sent his email to the wrong person.

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