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Web sites available for 'mature' Internet surfers

January 28, 2008

by Mark Ollig

Have you watched those Ameriprise Financial commercials as the music from the 1967 hit song “Gimme Some Lovin’” plays in the background?

Actor Dennis Hopper (wearing the cool shades) is telling us not to give up on our dreams just because we are getting a little older.

“You don’t turn your dreams over to the authorities at age 60,” Hopper says.

Isn’t 50 is supposed to be the new forty?

Well, I am very much looking forward to seeing if I actually “de-age” by 10 years this fall.

Or was it 60 is the new 40?

The commercial also got me thinking about the perception of the Internet. It seems to be identified as only being used by the younger generation.

What a bummer.

I discovered there are many web sites online that accommodate the more “mature” Internet surfer out there.

Back in 1996, a web site dedicated to senior citizens began at http://seniors-site.com.

This web site was one of the first geared toward seniors, focusing on issues and topics concerning senior citizens.

Some of the more popular topics on this senior web site include information on money, travel, and health issues.

The “news articles” bulletin board has information posted about current events affecting seniors. This information varies from state to state.

They even have an interactive senior’s blog, with timely topics started by and commented on by other seniors.

On the technology blog, seniors were discussing different types of computer keyboards. More ergonomically styled keyboards were one of the blog threads I was reading.

For example, one senior commented on a new computer keyboard without any keys. It’s called the “OrbiTtouch Keyless Ergonomic Keyboard.”

The photograph shows two round hand-shaped foam pads. A user places each hand in a pad, which has a USB connection to the computer.

A video is included to teach the user how to maneuver their hands within the pads in order to type or move the curser.

This eliminates the finger motion used in typing each letter . . . also, there is no twisting motion of the wrists. To check it out, go to http://www.keybowl.com.

The good folks at the Pew Internet Project recently reported 32 percent of people over the age of 65 are online and using the Internet.

This baby boomer believes the senior demographic using the Internet will go up dramatically as more boomers retire.

There is no doubt the boomers have the technical savvy to use computers and the Internet.

The Pew report said 88 percent of Americans age 12-29 go online. This group is being called the “digital natives.”

These digital natives are the younger folks who grew up with digital technology like the Internet, computers, and cell phones – not to mention iPods, Wii, and MP3 players.

So, what do they call the rest of us who grew up without these technologies?

We older folks are the “digital immigrants.”

How do you tell the difference?

A digital native will say they bought a “new” camera.

A digital immigrant will say they bought a “new digital camera that doesn’t use any film.”

Included in the Pew report was a statistic stating 68 percent of all Internet users age 65 and older have at one time or another used the Internet to look for health information.

Pew states online seniors are the most probable group to begin at a specific web site, rather than to go to a search engine – 34 percent do this during a conventional search for health information. Fifty-two percent of online seniors start their health information query at a common search web site like Google or Yahoo.

There is one health topic the online seniors outdistanced the younger Internet users on: Medicare and Medicaid information. I know, that was too easy, but I did want to present at least one area of the Internet seniors are leading in.

Another popular senior web site includes AARP . . . and just to annoy those younger digital natives, I won‘t define what this is. Check it out at http://www.aarp.org.

I also found (no surprise) a web site dedicated to us baby boomers. The baby boomer headquarters web site is located at http://www.bbhq.com.

Oh, and if you want get a bit nostalgic, check out a very young Steve Winwood singing the originally released 1966, “Gimme Some Lovin’” at YouTube. Enter “Spencer Davis Group - Gimme Some Lovin” in the search box.

While you’re at YouTube, search for “dreams don’t retire” to see Dennis Hopper in the Ameriprise Financial commercial.

So don’t be bummed out . . . as the song goes, “. . . it’s been a hard day and nothing went too good . . . now I’m gonna relax just like everybody should.”