Volunteer with StudentThese days, a computer is almost as common in people’s homes as a stapler or a coffeepot.

In the early days of “personal computers,” having one at home was unusual. We associated computers with work, not something that was a part of our home life. That, of course, thanks to people like Steve Jobs and Bill Gates, has changed over the years, and now it seems we can’t get along without them, or our mobile phones.

But what do people – especially older adults – really use their computers at home for?

A 2010 article published in Computers in Human Behavior stated that the most common uses of computers by older adults were:

  • Communication and social support
  • Leisure and entertainment
  • Information seeking-health
  • Information seeking-education
  • Productivity

Email, social media and the Internet have certainly provided us with more ways to connect than with a phone call or writing letters. Seeing photos or videos of grandchildren, nieces, nephews, etc., is almost instantaneous, no waiting for film to be developed and/or printed. Websites like YouTube or the most recent social media explosion “Pinterest,” allow us to express ourselves and share our interests with friends and loved ones.

Oasis is especially interested in helping people find information on the web to manage their health. For example, did you know that there is an online course to help you manage chronic illness? Better Choices, Better Health, was developed at Stanford University and is being piloted by Oasis through a partnership with the National Council On Aging. This program focuses on skills to cope with the common symptoms and frustrations of chronic conditions like diabetes, heart conditions, arthritis or depression … and because it’s online, it’s convenient for YOUR schedule.

Recognizing that older adults are or want to be more computer-savvy, Oasis has developed the Connections technology training courses over the last 11 years. Connections classes are offered to help you learn how to get the most out of your computer, and how to navigate the Internet, so that you can find health information, or become part of an online community like Facebook. And if you’re already on Facebook –our Connections Insider Facebook page offers tips on smart ways to use the Internet and social media.

So … what do you use your computer for? Tell us!