By Luis Rogers
Tech for older adults? It's true. Tablets, like the iPad, make it easier for aging individuals to read on-screen menus and books, use apps that improve their lives, stay in touch with family and friends, and even help them with end-of-life decisions.
Staying in touch with friends and family
iPads come with photo and document syncing built right in, so there's no need to fuss with transferring pictures to a memory card and physically moving them to another device. Many older adults are a little skeptical about technology like this, but Apple has actually done a very good job with security and privacy on its operating system. Email, photos, text messaging, and video calling apps like Skype and FaceTime are all good tools to help aging individuals stay in touch with family.
Family members can upload photos to a photo stream, and then share it with everyone in the family. FaceTime gives users unlimited access to video phone calls, making it easier to stay in touch without using data or cell phone minutes. And, text messaging is a convenient way to send little notes to friends and family throughout the day, as needed.
Is your aging loved one a gamer? iPad has games. So does Android. And, not the racing or shoot-em-up ones either. Older adults can keep their mind active by playing with any one of hundreds of memory-based games in the Apple or Google Play store.
Options for easier reading
Research also shows that reading on a Kindle or iPad is easier on the eyes than reading a real book. Researchers tracked eye movements of people using both regular paper books versus using Kindles and other tablet computers. They found that tablets allow users to expand text to an appropriate size for the reader.
This enables older individuals to read books at a text size that fits their personal needs. As we age, it becomes more difficult for us to see things, a condition commonly called "presbyopia." This is often why older adults need reading glasses. Sometimes, even this isn't enough.
Individuals with myopia (nearsightedness) may only have one solution—make the text larger. This isn't easily done with traditional books, but it is a snap with electronic devices.
In case of emergency, break out your tablet
Using insurance company claims apps and emergency services apps, older adults can not only file insurance claims and report emergencies, they can also stay informed of inclement weather like flash flooding, see weather forecasts without being glued to the television or referencing a newspaper, and avoid dangerous traffic accident areas using integrated GPS traffic flow monitoring.
Some Vancouver car accident lawyers even credit tablet computers with decreasing the number of accidents on the road, as long as they are used in a safe manner (e.g. mounted on the windshield or in a non-obtrusive location and used with voice-guidance for driving directions).
File a complaint
Perhaps the most amazing thing about the iPad, and iOS in general, is that older adults can use it to file complaints with the local government, rather than penning a letter or trekking to a government office. For example, FixMyStreet, a free app for iOS, Android, and Nokia, lets you report problems in your local area, directly to your municipality.
Luis Rogers loves all things technology. An avid writer, he likes to sit down and share whatever he finds by posting on the web. You can read his interesting articles on a variety of websites and blogs.