Browsers, E-mail, & Web Apps forum


Best e-mail client for a senior citizen?

by engineer331 / October 4, 2011 6:14 AM PDT

Recently my technologically impaired Grandma received a new computer as a gift. She would like to use it for e-mailing her kids and grandkids, but has almost no experience with computers (and is in fact intimidated by them). I was wondering if any of you had any experience teaching older people how to use e-mail, and more importantly, what e-mail client you would recommend.

Thank you.

Answer This Ask For Clarification
Discussion is locked
You are posting a reply to: Best e-mail client for a senior citizen?
The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited. Please refer to our CNET Forums policies for details. All submitted content is subject to our Terms of Use.
Track this discussion and email me when there are updates

If you're asking for technical help, please be sure to include all your system info, including operating system, model number, and any other specifics related to the problem. Also please exercise your best judgment when posting in the forums--revealing personal information such as your e-mail address, telephone number, and address is not recommended.

You are reporting the following post: Best e-mail client for a senior citizen?
This post has been flagged and will be reviewed by our staff. Thank you for helping us maintain CNET's great community.
Sorry, there was a problem flagging this post. Please try again now or at a later time.
If you believe this post is offensive or violates the CNET Forums' Usage policies, you can report it below (this will not automatically remove the post). Once reported, our moderators will be notified and the post will be reviewed.

All Answers

Collapse -
My 83 year old mother
by volvogirl / October 4, 2011 10:56 AM PDT

uses Hotmail. It's free. My dad used it before he died and she is continuing to use his address. Except there is a lot of ads taking up room on the screen. And it is a little too small for her to read if she prints it out. So sometimes I copy one to word and blow it up for her.

Good luck with her & computer. I hope you or someone lives close enough to pop over and help. I am the "support tech" person for my mom and some of my friends. Sometimes it's hard to figure out what they are explaining over the phone.

Collapse -
My 83 yr old Mother
by teisaac / January 31, 2012 10:25 PM PST
In reply to: My 83 year old mother

try using the ctrl -/+ functions of yr keyboard to enlarge the screen. Hot mail is not the best it has the adds and too many instant message pop ups. try yahoo or gmail

Collapse -
It's a difficult one
by MarkFlax Forum moderator / October 5, 2011 9:30 PM PDT

and besides volvogirl's example of web based mail I am not sure that anything is going to be 'easy', at least initially.

But if you are looking at email client software as opposed to web based mail then I would recommend Mozilla's Thunderbird.

It is an often recommended and stable email client, image here, and once it is set up correctly it works well.

I'm assuming that you or some other person would help your mother set it up, but once that is done, all she has to do is run the program whenever she wants to to download emails and then reply to them if she wishes.

If you decide to try that, I would suggest you setup Thunderbird's "Junk mail controls", easy to do, and show your mother how to mark spam mail as junk and so delete it with one click of the mouse.

Good luck.


Collapse -
70 Year Old
by JohnMAndre / October 6, 2011 9:56 AM PDT

Two lovely 70 year old people that I know use TrulyMail and they find it quite easy to use.

One nice thing is that on their website they have quite a few training videos so if they forget how to do something they can easily watch a video to see how it's done.

Collapse -
Another vote for Thunderbird
by Zouch / October 15, 2011 12:27 AM PDT

When asked, I almost always recommend Thunderbird, regardless of age but a couple of elderly neighbours found it very straightforward and picked it up quite easily. In both cases, I did take the time to work through it with them, concentrating on the basics, read, write, send, handle attachments, etc. Thunderbird is free from Mozilla (introduce them to Firefox too, while you are there) and has no ads or other screen clutter.

One big advantage of a POP client, rather than a web based mail system is that if the user doesn't have a broadband connection, it will keep the dial-up phone bills down by allowing offline reading and composing, just going online briefly for a send and receive of pending messages.

Collapse -
Don't forget AOL
by saleswords / November 18, 2011 6:16 AM PST

My mom's in her 80s and not technically adept. But she picked up AOL very quickly and never needs guidance, now that she gets how to attach files.

Collapse -
Outlook Express
by KenHusveg / November 18, 2011 7:05 AM PST

It's normal for elderly people new to computers to be intimidated. They are completely out of their environment. Whether it's a Mac or Windows most everything they will want to do is built in already. There is no need to introduce 3rd party software when their new desktop can do the job.

I'm guessing it's Windows? Show her how to use IE and Outlook Express as they are integrated with Windows. Use her ISP email for starters before you introduce her to cloud services.

You local library should have a selection of computer books specifically for elderly users, grab a couple and definitively introduce her to the F1 key.

Collapse -
by ellen911 / November 18, 2011 8:55 AM PST

you should teach her how to use it

just get a login on Google and tell her if she wants to send an email you have to click on compose mail and then type in the email address and type a message.

from rachel

Collapse -
cellphone with voice and email only?
by Deafbear / December 15, 2011 2:28 AM PST
In reply to: hi

I am looking for cellphone with voice and email(included discount monthly service) for my parents who are senior citizens. Any suggest?

My mother's Peek9 device was disconnect service. The Peek Service cost $10 per monthly service for email and text unlimited. She was disappointed that Peek,Inc was closed month ago.


Collapse -
Best e-mail client for a senior citizen?
by 1great / February 10, 2012 10:17 AM PST

I'm a senior citizen and I have no trouble with computers now. The first one we got I wouldn't even touch it even though it wasn't connected to the internet. I think you might call that being intimidated. The second one I got after I was divorced. I had a friend who was a senior citizen and had been into computers for over fifteen years and after a few chats and an important bit of info that as long as I didn't make any basic changes to anything I could look anywhere on the computer. If I did something wrong with a program, chances were that if I shut the machine off and started it again it would take care of the problem. I made lots of mistakes but I could always give him a phone call and he would walk me through. I'm guessing that your Grandma can come to you in the same way. I wasn't going to comment but I did some googling and came across a program I almost wish I had seen when I started. I have had no experience with it but it looks very simple. If Grandma can afford a bit of money I highly recommend you have a look. This is the page for it.

Collapse -
Try a desk top application
by astright / March 17, 2012 2:47 AM PDT

If your G-ma isn't very tech saavy, I wouldn't even recommend a web based email. It's very easy to click on a desk top application like Outlook, Thunderbird, whatever and you don't have to sign in each time you want to check or send an email. (OK, granted, you need to have a web based email that you can set up on the desk top application, but that is something you can do for her.)

I don't recommend Zimbra. I've got that and for some reason I'm not able to send an email from it. I'd probably go with Thunderbird but for some reason I can't get that to work, either. (Yeah, I'm a senior and not real tech saavy but I also don't have anyone to trouble shoot for me, either.)

Hope I was a help.

Collapse -
by utilstudio / June 7, 2012 10:35 PM PDT
Popular Forums
Computer Help 49,613 discussions
Computer Newbies 10,349 discussions
Laptops 19,436 discussions
Security 30,426 discussions
TVs & Home Theaters 20,308 discussions
Windows 10 360 discussions
Phones 15,802 discussions
Windows 7 7,351 discussions
Networking & Wireless 14,641 discussions


Big screens for the big game

Still looking for the best TV deals ahead of Sunday's game? Here are our top three big screen picks.