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Telikin Computer connects Seniors to the Information Highway

    November 12, 2012

“In addition to honing cognitive skills, Telikin users can markedly expand their social life. They love the photo sharing feature and the ability to have an audiovisual chat with friends and relatives.”

Many studies have noted that seniors who engage in mental activities can maintain and even improve cognitive function. Young people today are introduced to computers at an early age and have computer skills that surpass many baby boomers. When these seniors were young, the most technologically advanced piece of equipment was an AM radio. A simple-to-operate computer is now available. It is well suited for anyone who is overwhelmed by more complex machines. It is also geared for individuals with physical handicaps such as autism, a stroke, or Parkinson's disease.

The large monitor also houses the computer, a CD/DVD drive, USB reports, a memory card reader, webcam, microphone, and speakers. It also has a keyboard with extra-large alphanumerics and a mouse. It can connect to the internet either via an Ethernet cable or wirelessly. The monitor is a touch screen that can be manipulated with a fingertip or stylus. A nice feature for individuals with impaired vision is a magnifying glass button that magnifies a portion of the screen. Telikin sent me a unit to demo and after I familiarized myself with the machine, I interviewed Nancy Allegrezza, RN, director of marketing for Telikin. One of my first questions was what benefit it had over other devices such as an iPad. She told me that the iPad was much less intuitive, had a smaller keyboard that impacted input, and could be dropped or lost by a senior.

It is not possible to add third party software; however, the Telikin comes with a comprehensive set of applications designed to fit the needs of most seniors. It has a proprietary word processor and spreadsheet that are compatible with MS office and Excel. Ms. Allegrezza explained that this markedly reduces the risk of acquiring a virus and also avoids adding complexity to the system. The user is prompted when upgrades or new applications become available and downloading is a breeze. The latest addition was a Kindle reader. I have had a keen interest in computers ever since I purchased my first Apple II more than three decades ago. The Telikin is by far the most user friendly computer I have ever encountered.

Toll-free, US-based technical support is available, including one month of VIP service with priority calling and comprehensive help. The VIP service includes technician access to the unit to walk the user through the use of an application. It also provides 'how to' help along with technical support for backing up and restoring data. VIP support can be extended behind the 30 days for a nominal monthly fee. The Telikin is extremely intuitive; thus, most users will find the standard tech support to be sufficient.

Another feature is Tech buddy, which allows remote access capability for trusted family members and friends who, with the Telikin users permission, can remote into their computer from their PC or MAC and see their screen and actually help them do things like compose emails, manage photos, add things to their calendars, etc. It works like Telikin's support remote capability; however, many friends and relatives of the user like this feature because if the user has a question, and if they do not live with him or her, they can use Tech Buddy to remotely see what the user has a problem with and can assist over any distance. Ms. Allegreza noted that she uses Tech Buddy with her parents who live 1,000 miles away from her. She explains that this feature is especially important to children who want to encourage their parents to use a computer.

Features of the Telikin include: video chat; e-mail, photo album and photo sharing; calendar; contact list; weather; news; Internet browser; games; PDF viewer; slideshow viewer (Microsoft Power Point compatible); file manager; calculator; unit conversion; and video chat. The games are not only entertaining but also designed to improve cognition and memory. Ms. Allegrezza informed me that she has received numerous glowing reports from seniors in their 80s, 90s, and even 100s. On senior referred to her Telikin as 'her friend.' Many are thrilled that they can now operate a computer'just like their children and grandchildren. In addition to honing cognitive skills, Telikin users can markedly expand their social life. They love the photo sharing feature and the ability to have an audiovisual chat with friends and relatives.

    –Robin Wulffson, MD

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