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Posted on Mon, Jan 16, 2012 : 5:57 a.m.

Don't allow your computer to suffer from 'downloaditis'

By Alan Caldwell


Jeff Morris with Call Your Help Desk

On the radio program this past weekend, we talked all about computers and how seniors can best use them to stay connected. Jeff Morris, the owner of Call Your Help Desk, provided tips and useful information about PCs and laptops.

Jeff's business helps with residential and commercial computing, saying, "If it prints or computes, I can help you to use it better." Jeff helps seniors set up their computer and gets them on the internet.

We talked about desktops versus laptops. The two types of computers have very similar capabilities. If moving the computer is not a priority, a desktop is probably the way to go.

Jeff suggests buying a computer with Windows 7, 64-bit, 4GB of RAM and a 500-GB hard drive. You should also purchase as much processing power as your budget allows, as that will likely provide more years of a good computing experience.

We asked Jeff about his favorite products and applications. Instead Jeff stressed what not to use. His customers frequently have "downloaditis," downloading way too many applications and installing too many toolbars.

Downloading programs increases your risk of viruses and will likely slow your computer. With toolbars, the more you have, the slower your browsing experience.

Regarding security and avoiding scams, the biggest thing is using common sense. This especially applies to e-mails from people you don't know. As Jeff states, "You didn't just win money in Africa, and it's not you in the latest YouTube video." Just delete these notes; do not open them.

To hear this 13-minute discussion, click the audio link: Everything Elderly 0114 Jeff Morris.mp3">

To get in touch with Jeff or Call Your Help Desk, call 734-621-2093, or visit the website


Elizabeth Hurwitz, Elder Law Attorney

Photos by Sheila Doeden

We then had a very informative chat with Elizabeth Hurwitz, an elder law attorney with her own legal practice in Ann Arbor. Elizabeth works with all sorts of seniors, including those planning ahead to ensure their elder years are smoother and easier, and those suffering a medical crisis and wanting to "put their affairs in order."

Elizabeth emphasized the importance of the two powers of attorney. These are the two legal documents that everyone should definitely complete.

There is the general power of attorney that allows a friend or family member to help with finances and manage day-to-day issues. The medical power of attorney names a trusted individual to affect your medical care, if you are not conscious or able to make decisions.

Elizabeth talked about how these documents aren't just for you; they really help your family and friends. You have made those decisions and this helps avoid potential conflict and confusion. Without these documents, your loved ones will likely end up going to probate court to determine guardianship and/or conservatorship.

There are misconceptions about probate court. The probate judge is not a magician that will solve all family problems. If a family has been in conflict for some time, they will likely benefit from seeing a family counselor or therapist before going to court.

We also spoke about trusts. Not everyone needs a trust, but they can play a significant role in providing a structure to better protect your assets for your family. Elizabeth said that trusts are not a cookie cutter process. There are many options available and every family has different needs and objectives.

To listen to our 13-minute talk, click the audio link:

Everything Elderly 0114 Elizabeth Hurwitz.mp3">

To contact Elizabeth or her office, please call 734-657-0835, or you may visit the website

Alan Caldwell and Sheila Doeden co-host Everything Elderly every Saturday morning at 8:30 on 1290 WLBY. In their day jobs, Alan and Sheila co-own and co-manage Senior Helpers, providing in-home care services, primarily to the elderly. Both can be contacted at, or at 734-927-3111.


Alan Caldwell

Mon, Jan 16, 2012 : 12:28 p.m.

Thank Theodynus, you are correct, I meant 500, and just fixed it in the article. Thanks.


Mon, Jan 16, 2012 : 12:07 p.m.

I think you mean 500gb hard drive, not 50gb. 50 gb was high tech circa 2001.