Adaptive Technologies

By Doug Mayberry

June 17, 2019 4 min read

Q: I've reached the point where I'm no longer able to use my computer easily, but it's important for doing so much. Many daily necessities, such as online banking, paying bills and shopping, are easier online, and I don't want to be dependent or inconvenienced.

Unfortunately, my eyes and joints are in disagreement. I struggle to read the screen, and my arthritis gets in my way.

What are some fixes for seniors to better use technology?

A: Unlike with previous generations, seniors today have technology use integrated into their lives. They have gotten used to the convenience and learned how to use it.

On the other hand, aging bodies make using it much more difficult.

Luckily, there are many types of adaptive technologies aimed to assist with these problems. Research is ongoing, and there is existing software that can help you.

For vision problems, you can look into screen magnification software, screen readers and text readers. They can enlarge images, allow you to control the size of text and graphics, or read text aloud to you with a synthesized voice.

Program offerings include JAWS and NVDA for PCs and VoiceOver for Macs. These programs all have their benefits and drawbacks, so do the research to find the best one for you.

For dexterity issues, look into a speech-to-text software to translate what you say into text.

Additionally, you can make manual adjustments to your computer that work for you.

Have you considered your monitor size? You can attach a larger monitor (LCD TVs work well) to your computer, enabling you to display larger images.

Fiddle with your settings. You can adjust the size of items displayed on the screen. In web browsers like Google Chrome, you can select larger font sizes or zoom in closer on the page.

Even if you feel comfortable with daily technology use, you may not know how to adapt it to fit your needs. Don't be afraid to ask for help! — Emma, Doug's granddaughter


Q: The last set of sheets I bought only lasted a little under a year. I thought they were good quality at the time - soft with a good thread count — but I came to see the error of my ways.

The sheets tended to collect pills, which irritated my sensitive skin, and they ripped very quickly. For how uncomfortable they were, the sheets weren't even a good price!

How can I tell a good set of sheets from a rubbish one?

A: Many of the terms that we've learned to look for are no longer reliable and are used manipulatively as marketing ploys. Thread counts are often inflated by using poor quality fabric, and the use of the term "Egyptian cotton" is often fraudulent.

The most popular fabric is 100% cotton. Avoid blended fabrics and flannels, which don't age well.

Pay attention to the sheet weave, which affects the texture, appearance, durability and price of your fabric. The two most popular cotton weaves are sateen and percale. Percale is very common and feels crisper and cooler, while sateen feels softer and warmer.

Look for sheets in the 200 to 800 thread count range. Thread counts lower than 200 will not give you any comfort, and you won't see much difference in quality past 800.

People often choose new sheets quickly and based on convenience. Paying a little extra attention will improve your sleep for much longer than it takes to find a quality product. — Doug

Doug Mayberry makes the most of life in a Southern California retirement community. Contact him at [email protected] Emma, Doug's granddaughter, helps write this column. To find out more about Doug Mayberry and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Photo credit: sabinevanerp at Pixabay

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