Tablets for Seniors
If your senior loved one is resistant to learning technology for whatever reason, your best path to overcoming his or her objection is to find out how to make it accessible and easy for them. While it might seem counterintuitive at first, the best device to use isn’t a desktop or laptop computer – it’s a tablet.
Tobey Gordon Dichter, whose company Generations on Line did 36 usability studies with seniors on tablet use, states that seniors were most “…wowed by the ease, fun and convenience of tablet technology.”
When you consider the issues seniors often have with technology, the preference for tablets makes more sense:
1. The internet’s built in.
If a senior doesn’t already have internet in their home, having to get it set up (and pay for it) presents an additional deterrent – not to mention having to deal with occasional troubleshooting when it doesn’t work the way it should. Tablets have internet built in. Seniors can count on it to be there in the device when they need it, without having to deal with any external setup.
2. They have large fonts.
This is one of the big benefits of tablets for anyone with failing eyesight. On computers and smartphones alike it can be a challenge to read the small type that younger eyes often have no issue with. You can make it bigger on both those types of devices, but the process of doing so is especially easy on a tablet with a quick movement of the fingers.
3. They’re easy to type on.
The experience of trying to type on a smartphone is a big deterrent for many seniors. The keyboard on a desktop or laptop is easier, but the machines themselves are often bulky. Tablets bridge the gap. You can use a keyboard with them if you want, but even if you don’t, you have much larger “keys” to work with for typing than on smaller devices.
4. They’re intuitive.
Figuring out the basics of using a tablet is easy for most seniors. A few instructions from class, a loved one or a program will usually do the trick. Once they’re shown the basics, some time exploring the tablet on their own will likely leave them comfortable using it for the main things they need it for moving forward.
5. They’re light and mobile.
Computers are hard to move. A senior can’t easily keep one nearby wherever they may be sitting or bring it along with them when they visit a loved one. A tablet, by comparison, can be easily carried and used wherever they are. If they prefer to sit in a comfortable armchair, the tablet can come with them. If they want to bring it along when they visit their kids, no problem.
If you think a tablet may be just the thing to win your senior loved one over to giving the internet a try, head out to an electronics store with them. Let them check out different options and play around a bit with each. See which tablets they have an easy time reading on, an easy time zooming in with and on which they find the icons easy to see and intuitive to figure out.
The best tablet for your loved one is the one they’ll use, so give them a chance to choose for themselves. Then get to work teaching them the basics to get started.