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Idea's for seniors to fill boredom.

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#1 Bevirtual


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Posted 27 October 2014 - 04:06 PM


This is my first post and I wanted to start off right. I, through my job, assist elderly homebound people with computers. 

We provide, free of charge computers to the individual and then coordinate volunteers to show them how to use them.

Because we are non-profit I need all the free tools I can get my hands on. 

Microsoft Security Essentials, CC Cleaner, Malwarebytes, Prey (because not everyone is honest), OpenOffice are just some of the apps I place on the computers before they go out. 

Because they are elderly a lot of them like games for those sleepless nights. 

Free Rice is a favorite . Wondering if anyone knows of other freebies an elderly person might like.




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#2 DonnaB


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Posted 27 October 2014 - 08:10 PM

Hi Bevirtual,

Welcome to Bleeping Computer! :)

I think that what you do is wonderful! I volunteer quite a bit of my free time helping the ladies and gents at a senior citizen hi-rise in our community with their computers trying to educate them concerning safe surfing, shopping online, scams, etc. Seems they are easy targets for online identity theft as well as mail fraud, so I do my best to educate them.

I have noticed that many of the residents love jigsaw puzzles. Here are a couple of sites that I have shared with them so they can work their puzzles on their computers if they do not feel like sitting in the "community room".

The Jigsaw Puzzles.com

Hope this helps...... :)

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#3 NickAu


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Posted 27 October 2014 - 08:39 PM


We provide, free of charge computers to the individual and then coordinate volunteers to show them how to use them.

I do the same at a local school and with a few elderly, I beg borrow or otherwise scrounge up old PC's ( Rubbish collection day's are good people leave old PC's on the sidewalk/footpath ) I collect then fix them, Only I install Linux and teach them the basics.


Would they be interested in chat? Paltalk Express – Free chat rooms, instant messaging and ... no install is needed, It's browser based, They could even create their own chat room and administer it as they see fit.

I would be happy to show you how to do this. They could even video chat with family and friends.


How about Skype? ( but I do not know much about it)


Would you be interested in trying Linux?  Here's what I'm thinking, as you need to show the people how to use the PC, It wont matter if its Windows or Linux they are learning, The upside is that you can use older hardware and all the software is free.


Take 1 PC install Linux Lubuntu on it then set it up with games, Skype, Paltalk, Open office and so on, learn how to use it, update it, then you could set all new PC's up the same way. It is not as hard as it sounds.



CC Cleaner, Malwarebytes,

You would not need these with Linux.


I would be happy to guide you thru the entire process.





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Edited by NickAu1, 27 October 2014 - 09:11 PM.

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#4 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 27 October 2014 - 08:40 PM

Assuming these computers you are passing out run Windows, there's always the games built into Windows - the various Solitaires and Mahjong are good entertainment. I personally like Sudoku but the free versions available on-line lack quite a lot in user friendliness.


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#5 cat1092


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Posted 27 October 2014 - 11:09 PM

Bevirtual,  :welcome: to BC Forums!


Though I'm not quite a senior yet, have been disabled since the 2006 at the age of 43, and two years later in a Federal court, won the right to receive everything that those 65 & over is entitled to. Well, in that two year wait, after about a year, once I could at least walk again, I began to to things similar to that which Nick spoke of above, done some work for a charity on the days I could manage it, refurbishing donated computers with parts from scrap ones, and if the original install media weren't available, installed Ubuntu on them. 


Back then, Ubuntu shipped out at no charge the CD's (yes, it was CD images then), and upon request, new ones would arrive in 2-3 weeks. Later on, the near library hosted a community wi-fi service, so we no longer had to depend on these, and made our own media. It was after over a year, that I realized that the Long Term Support (LTS) releases were best for the targeted group of users, as many were calling, stating that their upgrade broke. In regards to that, to this day, Ubuntu is one of the only Linux versions that I've used that has an upgrade path like this, and it's not a recommended way to install an OS. That's why the Linux OS that I use, Linux Mint, doesn't have this auto pop-up, but if one really wanted to, it could still be done. 


My point being, getting as many donor computers as possible & delivering freedom to those in need. Chances are, they'll get used to not being chained down be EULA's & agreements, and realize there's no need to run pirate copies of Windows, Office & other apps all over the Internet for grabs, and come to love this new freedom, and share with others. 


Sharing is one of the best things that we as humans can do for one another, and for all of those who has broken installs of Windows beyond repair, the gift of a 100% Free OS is one of the best things we can do for those users in need. Really, if more realized the true benefit of Linux based OS's, many would throw their Windows install media in the trash, or give to another in need (if transferable). Who needs to worry about a few apps from the Windows Store at cost, when there's over 70,000 software choices for 64 bit Linux users & over 40,000 for the 32 bit version, the majority of all which are 100% Free. 


It should be a crime that the landfills are getting tons of still working XP computers, many of which can run the latest Linux (& Windows) releases, yet many families cannot afford a basic computer. Many of which are in areas where wi-fi is at no charge, and there's an option for free (up to a limit) for fast dial up Internet for secure transactions. These computers, once buried, will take hundreds of years to rot, and some components won't, plus some can leak & pollute the drinking water for many nearby residents. Same with TV's & similar electronics. 


With as many computers tossed, there's zero reason for a needy family, as well as needy seniors & the disabled, to not have some type for basic needs. There are many charities who would love to have these to refurbish, which includes a good cleaning inside out, and replacing bad components with those from similar models, and if the OS isn't supported, load Linux on these. Many charities are familiar with Linux because they run these OS's themselves, to use this cash to help the needy go further. 


The above is a great idea, and if I were in better shape, would have, or manage, some type of a computer ministry for the needy myself. It's just that I'm not physically able to do so, though I do volunteer some time with assisting seniors & disabled with their computer issues, through a program that our local food ministry has. Most of the time these days, the computer will be brought to me to examine, and if an inexpensive component is needed, they'll pick up the tab, I purchase & then install it, and make sure that it & Windows is running good. In the case of a damaged or severely infected Windows install, many of these has a recovery partition, and recovery disk sets can be created also (which I perform if it hasn't been). I'll backup what appears to be valuable & scan these items, backup all bookmarks from browsers, print out a Belarc Advisor list of installed software, then proceed to nuke the drive & reinstall Windows, their data & browsers/bookmarks. 


And will then find some form of security to install & set to run on a schedule. 1 year trials of AVG AV 2015 or Internet Security 2014 are in abundance on the Internet, legit copies, and once those runs out, another can be found (though per rules & my position, I cannot post these on this forum, Google & you shall find), these are superior over MSE. I also install ESET Online Security & Malwarebytes Free & run Full scans with these before the charity picks up the computer to return to it's owner. The last two Sundays, I've done the same, a reinstall of Windows 7 of infected computers, where the owners were seniors. Come to find out, in both cases, it was their children or grandchildren whom infected these, so I setup a special account for visitors with it's own password & tight restrictions (no suitable content for below the age of 18), with the inbuilt controls. 


As to other freebies for Windows, Revo Uninstaller is a good one, there's a portable version to carry on a Flash drive, as well as the installed one. I prefer the portable one, as have 5 working computers with 11 working installs of Windows to care for. So portable tools are my preferred way. The Portable is above the bottom link on left row. 




ESET Online Scanner as a weekly scan option for those who depends on MSE. It's best to use another browser than IE, to get the smart installer download, rather than a total online scan. This way, the user won't have to fully update each time. Place a shortcut on the desktop (Taskbar is fine) & in Documents folder for access, once installed




Emsisoft Emergency Kit, one of the most potent standalone AV+AM scanners around. Choose "Deep Scan" for every file on the drive to be scanned. Our site hosts this & there's further instruction on the page. Good to have in the Documents folder & run monthly, and to have one on a Flash drive to scan suspected infected computers. Like the ESET option above, after the first update, it only needs to be updated to current definitions. Be sure to create a folder in Documents, name it 'EEK' & with the option is shown, extract to that folder, From there, it can be copied to a Flash drive for portable use. MSE misses a lot more infections than it catches. I learned the hard way, back in 2010, and have paid for security since. In fact, it's one of the brands that I trust & run. 




Adblock Plus for Internet Explorer (this is available through the add-on options for other browsers). Critical protection. By the same who distributes it for other browsers. 




Web of Trust (WOT) for IE, same as with Adblock Plus. It also installs & works on Windows 8, though for this & Adblock Plus to work in IE, Enhanced Protection Mode has to be disabled. 




Lastly, no other software is as important as your time to instruct & guide on safe computing practices. 


And as have stated above, Linux is an option, uses Firefox, Google Chrome & Opera, if one can use either of the above while on the OS, that's half the way! The OS is extremely secure, and very few, if any, Windows exploits can be launched against Linux users. Plus the Firefox browser has one of the most powerful security add-ons of any in NoScript (this can also be used on Windows). 


Seniors also loves to learn!    :thumbup2:     Learning a new OS is stimulating to the mind, which flows to the body & is also good for everyone, not just those 25 & under. One thing of concern is that seniors are often targeted with malicious emails, the large majority are totally useless against users of the Linux OS. That's because Linux doesn't use .exe files (click & shoot), everything executed requires a password, making email attacks very difficult to pull off. 


I use & recommend Linux Mint, which is known as being as close as a drop in replacement for Windows as it gets, and yes, there are now games, including Steam for Linux, but also others. It is not recommended to run cleaners on the Linux OS, but rather clear the browser cache & history if desired, nor requires defrag like Windows does. 




The MATE edition is what I've ran for over 5 years, and what I recommend. Cinnamon & KDE are more visually appealing to some, however Cinnamon has graphics requirements similar to Windows 7 & KDE may be too much for the first time Linux user. There is also the Xfce edition for computers that aren't as powerful (such as older AMD Athlon X2 & Intel Pentium/Celeron based models). 


Best of Luck to you & to those whom you assist, the world needs more like you & yes, you're off to a fantastic start here!  :)


Please keep us informed of your progress & if the need arises for a issue, always feel free to post. 



Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 

#6 Bevirtual

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Posted 28 October 2014 - 01:07 PM

Thank you all for responding to my question for freebie apps for my elderly clients. 

I will check out each of them.

I did think of Linux or Ubuntu, especially on the older computers running Windows XP. 

We were fortunate to receive a grant to purchase 27 Windows 7 machines so that is a good start. 


#7 cat1092


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Posted 28 October 2014 - 11:46 PM

Glad to hear the good news, Bevirtual! :thumbup2:


It's a start, and especially in today's economy, a small miracle to obtain a grant for that many Windows 7 computers.


There are also non-profits that will step in and fill needs also, however demand is high. This possibility is still worth checking out, as I recently informed someone of where to apply for a computer at no charge, and he didn't bother, thinking he had no chance. All of the computers weren't distributed & he missed out big. This was a massive donation by a local hospital of Dell Optiplex business PC's with TPM installed, all just a year old w/Windows 7 Pro, and they moved forward to 8.1 to take advantage of Hyper-V (so that one employee could do the work of three).


The rest were auctioned to benefit the charity & one small company bought all, over 300 went unasked for.


That's why when these are offered, it's best to apply. Actually the qualifications were lenient, one was simply being disabled, which made me elgible, but I don't need anymore & would rather a less fortunate person received one. The only reason that I knew about it is that I volunteer at the charity some, assisting seniors & disabled when able. The last two Sundays were spent reinstalling Windows 7 for seniors in need, would like to do more, but I can't.


Good Luck with your charitable work, it's rewarding & good to see those who enjoys volunteering.


All the Best, :)


Performing full disc images weekly and keeping important data off of the 'C' drive as generated can be the best defence against Malware/Ransomware attacks, as well as a wide range of other issues. 

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