Pointerware – A Simple Way to Get Your Aging Parent Connected

by Dale on June 25, 2010

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Last year when I told a friend I was trying out some new elder-friendly software on my mother, he urged me to give Pointerware a try.  Much to my chagrin, I never followed up… until last week when I tested the product.  Now I totally understand why my friend and his elderly parents are fans.

Let me tell you why this software is heads and shoulders above the rest.  The two founders/developers had their grandmother and her elderly friend be part of the testing as they developed the product.   The product is developed with the everyday challenges of the elderly in mind.  Your parent can have a physical disability (such as low vision or arthritis), cognitive impairment or low level of literacy.  That is OK.  The design of the product allows for all of that.  “The PointerWare team is committed to the values of connectedness,empowerment and simplicity.”  This is evident in every aspect of the product.

I want to share the key functionality of the product – what sets it apart from other elder email/Internet access software.

  1. Although Pointerware has to be downloaded to the computer (it is not web-based), the download process is very well-defined and works flawlessly.  Every step of the way, you are given complete instructions and guidance.  My suggestion would be to do the install alone and then have your parent join you.  You’ll want to know the functionality and then introduce your parent to Pointerware.
  2. The first time you launch Pointerware, enjoy watching your parent’s reaction!
  3. You’ll hear a voice say, “Good afternoon, welcome to the Main Menu”.  Yes, there is enough audio so that the older adult feels as if they’re being guided.
  4. You’ll see Pointeware fill the entire screen, with a white background, black letters and very large icons with large text.  This is wonderful for those with a visual impairment or for those who have trouble using a mouse.
  5. The icons offered are “Internet, Photos, Mail, Phone, Games”.
  6. The Home icon is visible on all screens with the image of a dog.  I love that!  No matter where you are, if you get confused, you can find the dog, click and go to Home.
  7. Under Internet, you can save and “bookmark” favorite sites.
  8. Under Photos, you can send photos out.
  9. Under Mail, you can send and receive mail.  The navigation buttons make the process very easy to understand.
  10. I especially like the Phone functionality.  In the download process, you can integrate Pointerware into Skype.  So, your parent can actually be calling out through Skype while they’re still in Pointerware.  And there’s this wonderful audio and video test available.  I had a problem with my microphone and that allowed me to troubleshoot and get the problem quickly resolved.

Pointerware offers a 30 day f.r.e.e trial followed by a choice of a one-time charge or a low monthly charge.

The product is also available to assisted living communities at a small charge per user.

I recall years ago in technology circles, we’d talk about the digital divide among the rich and poor.  As I work with the elderly, I realize the digital divide extends to the elderly, many of whom are not able to utilize technology to connect with their loved ones and the world around them.  No more!

To check out Pointerware for your aging parent, click here. (If you decide to purchase, please use coupon code of “Transition”.)

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