Basic Computer Lessons for Seniors

By Tanya Watkins

Seniors commonly find themselves with more time on their hands as they get older and love to communicate with friends and family. Computers are a great way to open communication with younger generations. Seniors can learn to use the computer with a few basic lessons. Before you begin to teach, find out if the senior has problems with vision or mobility in his hands. You may need to use a special mouse or increase the size of the screen for him to be able to use the computer with ease.


Begin by instructing her how to use the keyboard. Start by showing her the home row of computer keys, and how she will use these keys as she types. After you have shown her how to use the home row of keys, the space bar, enter, and tab key, use free typing software to get her used to typing. Don't assume that she does not have typing experience. If she knows how to type but would like to refresh her skills, several online programs can be used to assist her in honing this skill.

Mouse Clicking

Demonstrate how the computer mouse works. Make him familiar with the left and right mouse buttons. Show him how to click and drag the mouse. The Green River Community College website offers free information that includes pictures on how to use the mouse for basic computing. Using a mouse is fundamental to using a computer. Seniors typically love to play games, especially card games. Find a card game that he can play that will help him practice his mouse skills.

The Internet

Once she has the basic keying and mouse skills mastered, introduce her to the Internet. Begin by showing her an Internet browser and explaining how it works. Help her bookmark basic sites that they she like to visit. Set up an email account for her, so she can begin to communicate with friends and family. If she gets confused, write down the steps so she does not have to worry about remembering them.


A great way to get involved with friends and family is to use email for communication. Give a quick lesson of how to open an email, how to send an email and how to delete email. Send him a few emails so he can see what will happen when they receive new emails. Write down the steps, so he can follow them.

Microsoft Tools

Take a few moments to show her how to use Microsoft's suite of products. Let her gain confidence with using Microsoft Word. Give her examples of how she can balance her checkbook or create a grocery list in Microsoft Excel, and show her how to use Microsoft Outlook for emailing. Microsoft products also include a set of accessibility tools. Show her how to use these tools to increase screen and icon size.