What would you buy a 85 yo?

Discussion in 'Buying Tips and Advice' started by chrisandersen, Apr 14, 2009.

  1. chrisandersen macrumors 6502


    Sep 6, 2008
    My mother is 85 and I want to get her a mac.
    Uses: Mail, Safari and ichat
    Choices: Old model 20" Imac= $925 or a new mini with a left over monitor I have=$675
    Leaning toward: The small imac so that it looks cool on her desk and I don't have to worry about the wires.
    Looking around ebay, didn't see anything I would want to fool with.
    Any suggestions on getting an 85 yo into the macworld? Thanks.
  2. kornyboy macrumors 68000

    Sep 27, 2004
    Knoxville, TN (USA)
    Wirelessly posted (iPhone: Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 2_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/525.18.1 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/3.1.1 Mobile/5H11 Safari/525.20)

    Both of those would be great options for her. If she doesn't already have a monitor, keyboard, and mouse I'd pick up the iMac if I were in your situation.
  3. Tomorrow macrumors 604


    Mar 2, 2008
    Always a day away
    An entry level iMac could be good, I don't dislike the idea of the Mini, either. Depending on how computer savvy she is, the iMac might be a better choice, if for no other reason than it "looks" simpler with fewer wires.
  4. fluidedge macrumors 65816


    Nov 1, 2007
    I wouldn't get a laptop. The keyboard keys are a bit small and fiddley. With all due respect would she really use the computer? 85 year olds really don't care about the latest computer hardware. I'd get a second hand intel iMac 20" screen. The all in one package is really the easiest option.
  5. mac88 macrumors 6502

    Aug 7, 2008
    Boston, MA.
    The clear/crisp display of the iMac may better for her vision. And the screen is big enough. Good luck!
  6. chrisandersen thread starter macrumors 6502


    Sep 6, 2008
    What about Broadband

    Ok guys, I agree the old 20 is the best way to go.
    What about her broadband? She has Cox cable, so should I go that way or do the DSL with her phone line. She will only need the basic package.
  7. mac88 macrumors 6502

    Aug 7, 2008
    Boston, MA.
    Broadband would be good if she is downloading pictures from emails (very quick). Dial-up will be painfully slow.
  8. flopticalcube macrumors G4


    Sep 7, 2006
    In the velcro closure of America's Hat
    When I had DSL over phone, I always had a high-pitched whine on the phone lines. Don't know if thats changed recently. I have cable now and its all good.
  9. clyde2801 macrumors 601


    Mar 6, 2008
    In the land of no hills and red dirt.
    My 75+ year old father went out last summer and got himself a g4 ibook, and he's pleased as punch with it.
  10. ButtUglyJeff macrumors 6502a


    Mar 9, 2008
    New York. The state, not the toilet.
  11. fartheststar macrumors 6502a


    Dec 29, 2003
  12. skye12 macrumors 65816


    Nov 11, 2006
    Austin, Tx
  13. statik13 macrumors regular


    Jun 6, 2008
    My vote is for the Mac Mini. Those little beasts are indestructible! Only disadvantage would be the extra cables & fiddling around if she wanted to try to keep in touch with family via Skype. Which ever way you go, avoid getting a laptop. They are too spill prone for computer novices.
  14. mscriv macrumors 601


    Aug 14, 2008
    Dallas, Texas
    Is there a reason you really want to get her such a new computer? I understand that the price on the previous gen iMac is great, but if she really will only be using email, chat, and the internet then you could save a lot of cash and get a 20" White iMac. There's plenty of intel models out there whether you go with Core Duo or Core 2 Duo. And with the savings you could max out the ram. If her eyesight is a concern at all then you could even go for a 24" in that model and set the screen resolution at something comfortable for her. I just think it's awesome that she's in her eighties and is computer literate. My parent's are in their sixties and their VCR is still blinking 12:00. :)
  15. Abstract macrumors Penryn


    Dec 27, 2002
    Location Location Location
    I'd get her cable. At this stage in her life, does she want to spend even more of her time waiting?
  16. jtgotsjets macrumors 6502


    May 20, 2004
    Lawrence, KS
    I think all-in-one is the way to go, but I would buy an even earlier generation iMac from a reseller. Pretty much any white intel iMac would suit her needs fine and could be had for the same price as the mini or cheaper. Even an iMac G5 would probably be fine.
  17. J&JPolangin macrumors 68030

    Jul 5, 2008
    Thule GL @ the TOW
    ...I'd get the previous gen 20" refurb at $850 - you never know if she'll turn into a poweruser or not and one gen removed isn't too old tech for anyone else to use as well.
  18. wackymacky macrumors 68000


    Sep 20, 2007
    38°39′20″N 27°13′10″W
    As much as I hate to say it, has she used a mac before or is she only familuar with Windows OS? Because although OS X is easier does she need a change?

    As for the mac any iMac will do won't it? It isn't as though she will be ripping the entire Shirley Temple discography.

    I would go wiith DSL or bable rather than dial-up.

    My 80 yo mother plays on-line bridge with people all over the world for 4 hours a day, and before I got her broadband I could never get through to her on the phone.

    (She uses an old 7 year PC with Windows 200 NT that has just had a RAM bost which she e-mails and surfs the net on, and we all REALLY know that if that is all you're using your computer for, that's all you need.)
  19. chrisandersen thread starter macrumors 6502


    Sep 6, 2008

    Found a white 20" imac on ebay for a reasonable price, got it in and gave it to her about a week or so ago. I gave her the quick and dirty 101 class on how to do what she needs to do and she keeps asking for more.
    Then last night, she calls and said the mac went to sleep and wouldn't wake up. I went over today and the blinking light was on and when I touched the keyboard, heard it start-up, but no display. I unplugged the system and plugged it back it, hit the power button and it started right up just fine.
    What do you think that was? Should I be concerned? Thanks for all of your input.
  20. localoid macrumors 68020


    Feb 20, 2007
    America's Third World
    My black Macbook developed intermittent sleep issues after the Leo 10.5.6 update. Under 10.5.5, sleep issues were extremely rare on that machine. I'm hoping 10.5.7 may fix the problem.
  21. pkagel macrumors regular

    Aug 5, 2008
    SoCal ExPat
    I'd go with the mini and a 24" monitor so she can have huge letters on the screen and be able to see the pics really big.
  22. 007bond macrumors 6502a


    Dec 12, 2008
    DFW, Texas
    maybe because you didn't install the phone line filters that block out all the interference.

    anyway there is a 9.99 dsl plan in some states that is availabe to all people who are have never had a high speed internet connection and they have a phone plan with att. its hidden on their site so i cant find it but you have to look carefully

    EDIT: http://www.att.com/gen/general?pid=7681

    thats the link it is cheap and good enough for all the old people out there
  23. Santabean2000 macrumors 68000


    Nov 20, 2007
    A newer model, apart from being faster, is also less likely to have issues with the HDD etc; knowing its past history is an advantage here.

    (I rest my case.)

    Seriously, for our age challenged friends/family the whole user experience has to be completely hassle free if they're ever going to get into it in any way.

    They just won't understand lagging/hanging and will quickly get confused.:confused:

    My advice:
    Last gen refurb 20", with a fast internet connection, (dial-up is NOT a good idea).
  24. markiv810 macrumors regular

    Sep 27, 2002
    in Limbo
    I would go for the 24" iMac as it offers better quality display than the 20" iMac, also the 24" iMac would be a good multimedia hub, don't forget to get the Apple Remote for the iMac (incase Apple stopped shipping the remote with the iMac). Optical mouse response is horrible, cursor jumping everywhere on the screen, maybe a decent laser mouse also would be a good option.
  25. Cartaphilus macrumors 6502a

    Dec 24, 2007
    Teaching New Tricks

    I've helped several octogenarians with their first computers, and i've found that with many older people, their intelligence seems entirely intact, but memory is often a problem. In learning even a sensible operating system like OS X, it often takes a lot of repetition before any process is truly absorbed. Those who only want to check their email once a day, or check a couple of specific websites for a few minutes each day, seem to have the most difficulty retaining what they've been taught. I found that the best thing is to write down for them, in what might otherwise be excruciating detail, exactly what to do step-by-step to accomplish their top five tasks. Printing these out, with the task on the top of the page in large uppercase fonts, provides a safety net that avoids a lot of frustration and exasperation.

    And the Share My Screen function in iChat is a real lifesaver if you can't get over to their house conveniently.

    Best of luck to both of you!

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