The iPad and Older Adults

Do you know of an older adult who thinks the internet is something you find at the library?  It is quite difficult to explain what the internet is and its benefits to an older adult (who for whatever reason) has become somewhat isolated from modern technology.

My husband’s grandfather recently received a “tutorial” from his much younger family members about the benefits of the iPad.  He was curious about the new technology and was intrigued as they showed him an iPad and all its neat tricks.  At the end of their discussion, however, he didn’t think he would purchase one (because he rarely uses his desk top computer as it is). 

If you are an older adult who spends a significant amount of time at your desktop reading the news or sending emails to friends and family members, then you might consider purchasing an iPad.  I went to and read that the iPad starts at $499, but don’t forget the added cost of wireless internet….

My family owns an iPad and we have greatly enjoyed it.  I use it most often when I relax in bed and read the news at the end of the day. Our kids enjoy playing games on it and we always take it on long trips.  I also carry it around the house like a radio when I listen to music on the Internet.

The iPad offers many benefits to older adults.  Because it is light weight, it makes it easily portable.  My mother (61) recently purchased an iPad and said she enjoys placing it by her sewing machine to watch tutorials on quilting.  She also uses the iPad for skyping (instant messaging over the internet) with our children here in Germany.  The other day she took the iPad and went outside and showed our kids all the work has done in her yard.  That interaction with our kids wouldn’t have been possible otherwise.  For seniors who enjoy traveling frequently, the iPad offers them the ability to not only continue to plan their trip in their hotel room, but use the iPad in a coffee shop, etc. that has wireless internet.

Because there is no mouse with the iPad, you have to use your hand on the screen to direct all actions.  Some actions require fine motor skills and this may be a challenge for seniors who have had a stroke or who have Parkinson’s disease.

There are benefits to using the iPad for seniors who have poor eye sight.  There is a (super) large text feature and the ability to zoom in incredibly close.  There is also a “voice over” command, which reads text aloud, paragraph by paragraph.

There is an interesting article in US News from 2010 about this topic and it is listed below.


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