The iPad is the Greatest Thing for Senior Adults Since the AARP Card!!!Posted: September 7, 2011
The senior generation comes from a day when life was less hectic and moved at a slower pace. They come from a day where the only thing that tweeted was a bird perched on a branch of an oak tree in the front yard, and the only meetings scheduled were held at the church house on Sunday. Yes indeed these folks come from a time where everything just made sense. Not like nowadays; no sirree, it seems like nowadays the world done went and got itself in a big dad-gone hurry. This new fast paced, frenzied era appeared without warning. To some of you who are reading this, my depiction of this transition may not sound quite right, but I’ll bet most of your grandparents, likely some of your parents, as well as those reading who come from this senior generation, would think it sounds right on the money.
The rate that technology is changing is so rapid, that it even makes those of us from the tech generations dizzy – and we are accustomed to it. So, before you roll your eyes and click off this blog to read something more pertinent to your age group, try to think about that scenario for a minute. While there have been technology advancements throughout all time they have only started to really ramp up over the last 20 years. Most significant, though, is the virtual tech explosion over just this past decade that is has changed the entire landscape of even the last 20 years at a rate that is borderline insane. For some of you that is half the time you have been alive or more and the time before this decade you were already growing up with technology, and that is great. Just try to imagine if you were 60 years old when this rabid tech storm kicked up and from years 60-70 you lived in a whirlwind of change that you couldn’t get a grasp on. Make no mistake; I think Technology advancement is great. In fact, without it I would be out of a job and have nothing to write about. I am simply acknowledging the unfortunate truth that the majority of the senior generation, this whirlwind must be, at best, maddening.
Today Tech Corner is going to respect its elders and present the iPad, the device that will finally chase that technology “Boogie Man” out from under Grandma’s bed. The iPad may not have been designed with the senior generation in mind; however, with the benefits it offers I would not be surprised to find out it was. The iPad removed virtually everything about a computer that tended to make the senior’s apprehensive. The most significant of these features would have to be the Touch Screen.
The mouse has been a thorn in the side of many senior adults, for many years. I have spoken to several seniors and worked on some of their PC’s and the most common complaint that I hear from senior adults is against that “DAG BLAMED MOUSE!” Think about it, if you have terrible arthritis, or any arthritis for that matter, trying to grab that mouse and manage it can be a very painful experience. For some seniors they have very poor vision so trying to squint to see that small cursor that is, a lot of times, the same color as the page they’re on. Once they lose track of that cursor or activate a different window, and can’t figure out why the one they were just on doesn’t work and their hands feel like someone is running shards of glass in their joints…..Are you starting to see why it would be so frustrating? We take these little details for granted (at least i have), what we see as a basic mouse to them could be as formidable as the fight deck of a 747.
The iPad has removed this little demon for them, and replaced it with the ease of touch. Gone are the days of having to remember when to single click this, or double click that, etc. With no mouse to mess with and having a 10 inch touch screen is much easier to understand. Want to launch Email? Just reach out and touch it with your finger, DONE! Now this is something that makes sense to the senior adult, they get this. The keyboard might look a bit different, but it will be no time before the ease with which the keys can be pressed sets in. This is especially helpful for those with arthritis, as your fingers can practically glide with no resistance across the iPad’s keyboard.
The iPad’s touch screen also comes with pinch and pull zooming feature. The pinch and pull zooming feature turns any text; no matter if its email, web or e-reader, and immediately transforms it in to large type. For the senior adult, or anyone for that matter, with poor eyesight this feature is a Godsend. If the ease of the pinch and pull method isn’t for you, you can always double tap the screen with your finger as well and that will bring the page to a better fit for you. Couple that with the fact that you can change from portrait to landscape orientation by simple rotating the display. That impact that this touch screen and its featured has on the senior adults computing experience is something that words will not serve justifiably, however, it allows the senior adult to finally enjoy the benefits of technology.
So, know do you see why I say the iPad is the greatest device out there for seniors? No?! Well let’s continue then, because there is more. The iPad removes the apprehension and nervousness that senior adults tend to of technology, by offering seniors a “Panic Button”. I often hear senior adults talk about how they get nervous when they open up a bunch of web sessions and venture out in the internet pool too far; or just have too many Screens up and can’t get back to the desktop. For whatever reason, if they have found that you have ventured too far out and gotten themselves self in a mess, just press the big Home button at the bottom that makes it all go away and you’re back in Kansas.
There is also no more of those confusing software installations with questions like, “Which Drive would you like to save this file to…” and “Please pick a Location for these files to be installed”. With the iPad comes the App Store, which means no more difficult installs, just tap install and the iPad handles the rest. This is who it should be, and to the senior adult, it just makes sense to them. You see it, you push it, it does it right? There is also the app store. A place the senior adult can go to load up their iPad with all kinds’ useful apps. Best of all the apps are inexpensive, and a lot of times free. There are also some useful apps that come preinstalled on the iPad right out of the box. The iPad right out of the box offers a calendar and email. There is also a webcam integrated in the iPad and the Skype app comes preloaded. If they have family that live far away; no problem, they can talk to them virtually face to face right there on the iPad. iBooks also, comes pre-loaded on the iPad, with iBooks you can shop, buy and read books right there on your iPad as well. iBooks even has a digital book shelf with a wood grain appearance that you can store your titles on. The iPad provides a senior adult with a vast list of items they can get for free or shop and buy without ever having to get out in the hustle and bustle of the rat race. They can sit right there in the recliner and relax.
The largest contributor to the apprehension and fear of the internet that commonly plagues senior adults are viruses and malware. This apprehension is not without good reason; viruses and malware are so prevalent on PC’s that sometimes it seems as if they come preinstalled with Windows. So the senior generation is not alone on this one. However, the iPad is not made by Microsoft, it is made by Apple, and one on Apple’s greatest benefits is their products are not plagued by viruses and malware. This allows them to surf the web without having to be worried what kind of virus they’re going to pick up if you go to the wrong place. This allows the senior adult the peace of mind to just go out there and explore.
One important thing to note is there will need to be a wireless internet connection. The iPad is a tremendous device; however, without a wireless connection it is pretty useless. So, if you are reading this and are planning to get one for your parents, grandparents or anyone from the senior generation, don’t neglect this small but very important requirement. There is a good possibility if they don’t have a wireless connection established or a service, you will most likely need to get this set up for them. The only other thing would be the first time the device is synced with iTunes, they may need help with this as well.
Some additional benefits of the iPad that we didn’t cover above is that it only weighs like a pound so it is very light weight. It is also extremely mobile, which allows them to use it anywhere in the house they are comfortable, and not be forced to sit in that uncomfortable computer chair. Also, the picture viewer is a masterpiece, they can look at the pictures of the grand kids in bright vibrant color and one swipe of the finger goes to the next picture. Did I mention that it doubles as a digital picture frame too, well it does. When they’re not using the iPad they can display “them grand-babies” for all to see in the form of a digital picture frame. There’s more, the iPad also gives them access to iTunes, which will allow them to stream or buy episodes of as much Matlock and Andy Griffith as the desire. Not to mention they can buy and listen to music and all of this (the music, TV Shows and Movies) can be stored on the iPad’s integrated iPod. Now they can lay back relax and let the iPad take them on a journey accompanied by the smooth tones of Perry Como.
If you remember nothing else I have told you, remember this. If you ever wanted to do something special for any of the loved ones in your life from the senior generation; I can think of no better way than to get them, not only a tremendous device, but will also give them the opportunity to experience the same great technology advancements that we enjoy. This device will allow senior adults to live in this tech-centered society without fear, frustration and sometimes pain. Be a blessing to them and be the one that gives them this gift. Isn’t it about time they get to join the technology revolution instead of trying to prevent being run over by it? I say yes, what say you?