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Computer Keyboards for Seniors

Computer Keyboards for Seniors

As individuals grow older, their vision weakens and in today’s day and age, almost everyone uses a computer; however, the problem arises for senior citizens as the use of a keyboard can be very difficult as the letters and numbers are hard to see.  For that reason, several manufacturers have taken into consideration that senior citizens still use computers and have developed computer keyboards that are more suitable for seniors in terms of larger keys, more vibrant colors as well as many other features.

If you have ever been diagnosed with glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration or even diabetic retinopathy, then it may be time for you to consider a computer keyboard that has been made to help those with these conditions as well as senior citizens who are visually impaired to use the computer easily.

Courtesy of matulio on Flickr.com

By utilizing large print computer keyboards, you won’t have to strain your eyes, resulting in a headache as well as neck pain, since the letters on the keyboard can double in size.  This means that you won’t have trouble determining the difference between a comma and a period or a semi-colon and a colon.


Courtesy of arlington.library on Flickr.com

Why Do Senior Citizens Need Special Computer Keyboards?

We’ve already covered this but as a reminder – senior citizens need special keyboards so they aren’t straining to keep up with today’s technology.  If there are a large number of mistakes in e-mails and documents then it’s time to switch to a special keyboard that has been created just for seniors.  Many senior citizens decide to avoid their computer as much as possible so that they don’t have to strain and struggle with the keys.  There’s no reason for this since there are alternative solutions available now.

How Are These Keyboards Different?  Why Do Seniors Need Them?

Simply put, the standard letter size on a keyboard can be difficult to see if your vision has weakened or is weakening.  By utilizing a special computer keyboard for seniors, you’ll be able to as much as double the letter size.  It’s almost like comparing a standard print to a large print in a book.  There is a significant difference and seniors find this much more comfortable and enjoyable.

What to Look for When Buying Keyboards for Seniors

Whether you are a senior yourself or you are looking to purchase a computer keyboard for a relative, friend, or senior center, knowing what to look for can really cut down the time spent on finding the right keyboard.

  • Large Keys. You want to ensure that you find a keyboard that senior citizens can actually utilize so larger keys and larger print are essential in this.
  • Keep it simple. The simpler the keyboard the better for seniors as well. The reason for this is many keyboards nowadays are very complex and can be too much for a senior citizen resulting in becoming overwhelmed.  Simple is also good since many seniors only type with one or two fingers. This is one case where ergonomic keyboards may not work well as they are generally more complicated looking, which can intimidate a new user.

Do You Need Large Print?

Not sure if you need a keyboard with large print?  Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Have you been diagnosed with any of the conditions mentioned near the beginning of the article – glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration or diabetic retinopathy?
  • When composing e-mails or documents, are they full of typing errors?
  • Are you one to avoid your computer simply because of how difficult your keyboard is to use?
  • Do you get a headache from straining to see the keys on your current keyboard?

If you answered yes to just one of the questions above, you could significantly benefit from using a keyboard with large print.  Large print can reduce your headaches as well as the difficulty you experience with your current keyboard.  In addition, they are great in low-light conditions as well.

Let’s take a closer look at some available options to you.

Stick-On Labels

First off, if you don’t want to go through the hassle of changing out the keyboard completely, you can purchase stick-on labels to convert your current keyboard into an easier to see and use keyboard.  You can receive different color combinations and can double the letter size.  You can keep the black with white letters or you can change to something a bit more vivid and get yellow with black letters.  You can get the entire set for your computer from Hooleon for about $18.00.

Keys-U-See Keyboard

If you don’t mind purchasing a new keyboard outright then there are a few different options to choose from that are great.  One of these being called the Keys-U-See Computer Keyboard.  This a keyboard ideal for those that having trouble seeing.  This keyboard has very large print and probably the largest available on the market today.  In addition to such large print, you can choose from three different color combinations (including yellow).  The keyboard also comes equipped with popular hot keys so that you can have one-touch access to your e-mail and internet.

VisionBoard Keyboard

This is another excellent keyboard to add to your home or a local senior citizen home or center.  The Chester Creek VisionBoard was designed to help lessen the strain of the computer user’s eyes trying to find the correct key on the keyboard.  The keyboard pictured is black on white but you can also purchase the VisionBoard2 in black on yellow for a more vivid experience.  In addition, the actual key size on this keyboard is larger allowing you to press a T without pressing the Y instead.  This is a great keyboard for those that have trouble with their vision as well as those that have larger fingers and find it difficult to press accurate keys.  You get the VisionBoard between $70 and $100 depending on where you purchase.

Big Keys LX Large Button Computer Keyboard

Finally, we have the Greystone BigKeys LX Kids Keyboard, Qwerty layout computer keyboard, which is probably my favorite.  One of the best things about this keyboard is that it is comprised of several bright colors allowing it to be easier to utilize for seniors.  The actual keys on this keyboard are larger than standard keyboards and the buttons are colored allowing those with visual impairment the ability to see keys easily and accurately.

What’s more is that many senior citizens don’t need “hot keys” or other buttons wasting space on the keyboard because they won’t ever use them – the makers of Big Keys LX took this into consideration in the creation and development of this keyboard.  This computer keyboard is simple and easy to use – it doesn’t have all those extra keys or the hassles of needless features that senior citizens simply will not use.  This one is a bit pricier than the others with a price tag of around $160 but definitely worth the cost for the simplicity and ease of use.

It’s Okay to Use Children’s Keyboards

Seniors could benefit from using a children’s keyboard.  The reason why is that many children’s keyboards come with large keys, large print, and a reduced number of keys.  Children’s keyboards are not complex offering a simple keyboard to be utilized without extra keys in the way.  Since senior citizens need to have a keyboard that is simple and easy to use, keyboards made for children can actually fit the bill quite nicely.  Check out our children’s keyboard article here to learn more about the keyboards that are offered, which could be the perfect choice for many seniors.

No matter whether you are a senior citizen yourself, looking to purchase a computer keyboard for your struggling grandparent, or if you are an administrator in a senior citizen center, these special keyboards designed for seniors make the utilization of a computer much more enjoyable.  It will allow for seniors to peruse the internet, send e-mails to family and friends, and have a pleasurable experience on the computer overall.  There’s no reason to struggle when you don’t have to.

Aside from computer keyboards, another interface that will greatly influence a senior citizen’s interaction with the computer is the browser, assuming that most activities will be centered on navigating the web. Therefore, selecting the right web browser and mouse are 2 other critical components to consider if you are looking to create the easiest computer experience for a senior citizen.

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