Though some seniors may be slower to pick up on the latest technology trends, most are taking advantage of the internet more now than ever before. Today, approximately half of seniors own smartphones, and 70% are connected to the internet. More and more seniors turned to technology to stay in touch with family and friends during the coronavirus pandemic. Being able to see and talk to our loved ones via technology, especially for those at higher risk of contracting COVID-19, certainly made getting through it a bit more tolerable.
Now that your loved one is tech-savvy, it may be time for them to invest in a tablet or similar device to allow them to stay connected with family, do their banking and shopping, participate in online dating, and share their lives via social media. These are some of our top picks for seniors:
The Grandpad is made especially for seniors and is intentionally simple to use. Features include large buttons, an intuitive interface, senior-friendly apps, and ergonomic and sleek accessories. In addition, your loved one’s contacts and preferences can be preloaded and used immediately upon opening. As an added bonus, the GrandPad relies on cellular service, so WiFi is unnecessary, meaning your loved one can connect with you from anywhere. Subscriptions are offered at $79/month or $58/month billed annually.
Apple iPad Mini
The iPad mini is an affordable option, starting at $399, with all the bells and whistles that make Apple products so popular. Not only is it lightweight and small enough to fit in a handbag, but it also works off of WiFi, so there are not monthly fees attached to it after purchase. The iPad mini was created with accessibility in mind and includes features that support vision, interaction, hearing, and cognitive needs. We also like that it is compatible with the Apple Pencil for those with mobility and dexterity issues.
Lenovo Smart Tab M8
For those who prefer a more budget-friendly option, the Lenovo Smart Tab M8 starts at just under $110 and delivers on battery life, sound quality, and screen size. It comes with a smart charging dock and features Google Assistant. The option to create multiple user accounts may be attractive to caregivers who will be sharing the tablet with their loved ones. And, at just a small extra cost, you can purchase a compatible wireless combo keyboard and mouse.
Microsoft Surface Pro 7
For seniors with some experience with technology looking for more of a laptop than just a tablet, the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 may be a good option. It has a larger screen than the previously mentioned tablets but is incredibly lightweight and slim. It also has a built-in kickstand that makes it easier for seniors to use, can support running multiple programs at once, and is compatible with the Surface Pen and optional keyboard. The Surface Pro starts at $750 but is worth the price if your loved one needs a device for more than causal internet surfing and video chatting.
If your loved one lives in a senior living community, chances are that they’ve been using some type of device to video chat with you throughout this past year. Find out what they’ve been using and what they like or dislike about the experience. This may be a good jumping-off point when purchasing one for them to own.