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Seniors: Do You Really Need an iPad?

Decisions! Decisions! What a Senior Citizen needs to know about the iPad.

If you are like me, you get confused easily!  Part of it is abnormal forgetfulness (post Alzheimer’s Disease maybe?) and part of it is not really caring all that much.  “Things” just don’t matter at my age. 

Unless, of course, it makes life easier.  In my opinion, the iPad does just that plus it makes me feel safer. 

NO MORE FROZEN CLAW SYNDROME! 

I have discovered that an iPad 2 gives our old fingers a break with Touch Screens!  Hang up that old mouse that freezes your fingers and thumb into a permanent claw!  The iPad’s touch screen makes it wonderfully simple for seniors to wander through screens and accomplish connections to the outside world.  All with the touch of a finger tip!

NO MORE SQUINTING OR SMALL PRINT! 

We do not like to admit it but our eyes are failing.  The programs on the iPad have large icons that are easily visible and are more inviting that an arrow (cursor) that you cannot find on the screen because you jerked your hand for some unknown reason.  Our bodies do not always do what we wish them to do! 

Plus, the websites can be easily enlarged by using the “pinch out” function.  This allows seniors to increase the size of characters quickly to a very readable size. 

NO MORE SAYING:  “WHERE DID MY FILE (OR PHOTO) GO?” 

Another cool feature is the ease in which photos can be emailed or received on the iPad.   The iPad decides for you as to where your photos will be stored so there is no hunting or guessing as to where to find what you need or where you want to put it. 

To email a photo, you go to your PHOTOS application, touch the “Send” menu option and tap “Email Photo.”   To save a photo, just click the attachment and an option window will pop up allowing you to “Save Image” and (TaDa!) the photo is saved to your Photos file.  You can also “Copy” or “Cancel.”  It is your choice.  

The automatic saving and sending of photos by email without having to hunt down where the photo is located (or saved) is a blessing all on its own.  It has always been a challenge for me to find where I placed downloaded files from my camera or from a thumb drive — especially since I have “Recent Memory Loss” Syndrome and forget the name of a folder I created for my new photos seconds later!  Talk about frustration! 

THE iPAD IS VIDEO CHAT READY! 

Another great feature of the iPad is that it is “Skype Ready.”   If you are not familiar with Skype, it is a video chat service (basic service is free) that requires you to install a small program so you can talk Face to Face with your loved ones over the computer or iPad.  

With the iPad, you no longer have to deal with the web cam installation and how to mount it near your computer.  The iPad has the camera already installed and you can see yourself on the Skype screen so you know what is being seen by others.  Skype provides a ring tone that is so loud you can hear it in Denmark letting you relax as you cannot miss any important calls as long as Skype is running on your computer.  

I FEEL SAFER WITH AN iPAD NEARBY! 

What especially appeals to me is that Skype could be my “back up cell phone” if my one and only cell phone breaks down or gets lost.  I could call my cell phone on Skype and the ring will tell me that “someone” left it under a towel in the bathroom!  

SEEING IT WORK: 

I wanted to see how the iPad actually worked.   There are quite a few videos on Elder Gadget (http://www.eldergadget.com/products/tablet/) that show all the features that appeal to seniors, such as:   

Reading magazines, books, poetry, and viewing maps, photos, videos, movies, music, TV shows, visiting senior chat rooms and, of course, talking on Skype.  Elder Gadget is only set up to give reviews that help Seniors — so do not expect to purchase anything from this web site.   

COST MAY BE A FACTOR: 

If you comparison shop at Shopping.com for just the iPad, you will find the smallest version costs just over $400 and the largest, with all the bells and whistles, around $900.  Other “tablets” can start as low as $140. 

IS IT ALL ABOUT THE SIZE? 

I was surprised at how many sizes are available for tablets.  From a pocket size of five inches to a monitor size of twelve inches, you can have your pick.  A seven inch tablet would fit in my waist belt purse (or a back pocket) easily.   That way I would be connected to the world (especially my family and friends) no matter what I am doing.  (Snoring included!) 

ONE DISADVANTAGE – ALMOST: 

The one small disadvantage is that passwords are required when downloading apps and the iPad’s browser does not have password memory capabilities.  Perhaps the next generation of iPads will solve this dilemma. 

Does a Senior Citizen really need an iPad?  

As long as you have a cell phone and a computer available 24/7 because you are home 90% of the time, then probably not.  But if you are retired and travel, then you may need to have access to maps and other information nationwide or worldwide (or what’s on sale at Dillard’s, JC Penny, or Walmart) while you are in the car. In that case, perhaps having an iPad is just what you want in order to reach out through a wireless connection when you need to do so. 

We knew this day would come, Seniors, we just did not know we would be alive to see it!   Sometimes I just sit back in amazement at technology.  Stay tuned in and turned on! 

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