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When my 82 year old mom decided she needed a new computer my heart rate quickened. My mom is fairly adventurous when it comes to technology. However, I am her #1 tech support. My sister is #2 but she lives 1037 miles away.
My mom had an older (and very heavy) laptop that was quickly dying. She did some research and thought a Google Chromebook might be perfect for her.
I was skeptical.
My 13 year old has a Chromebook for school. He hates it. The thought of double the daily Chromebook complaints was daunting. My mom explained that she only uses her laptop for web browsing, games like Solitaire and email. She felt that a Chromebook would work for her needs and have less tech issues for me to solve.
I started thinking about Sam’s complaints. They all had to do with loading software. My mom doesn’t need much software but she does use TurboTax. She has always used the software version. We discussed her level of comfort with the online version of TurboTax. She said she thought she was okay with that.
I convinced my mom to go to MicroCenter and off we went to buy a Chromebook. The salesperson tried briefly to discourage her from a Chromebook as he feels they are “restrictive”. I replied “Restrictive is good when I am tech support”. He nodded in agreement and we picked one based on screen size and weight.
My mom took the Chromebook home and I sat with her as she set it up. We had one issue over her Google account and password. Once we tackled that, I did a brief orientation with her. It’s now been two months and she hasn’t had any problems with it!
My mom’s experience with her Chromebook made me start thinking about the usefulness of the Chromebook for older adults. It makes sense that Chromebooks would be good for older adults. They eliminate the storage issues since all documents are stored in the cloud. It also decreases the risk of viruses. Both of these factors greatly reduce the need for tech support. Many older adults use their computers for email and web searches only. Chrome books are well suited for both of these functions. Many older adults are not concerned about loading software which is also limited with Chromebooks.
When looking for a new computer for an older adult consider a Chromebook. It may be the answer! It has definitely lessened my mom’s need for my tech support services!

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