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Ask Slashdot: Touchscreen Device For the Elderly? 155

Posted by timothy
from the please-slide-here dept.
Lord Byron II writes "My grandma is in her 80s, is bed-ridden, in a nursing home, and is basically reaching the end of her life. Her legs are weak, meaning that she is confined to her bed, and her hearing is pretty much gone. Her sight is good and her mental facilities are still there, but even so, she spends most of her days just watching daytime TV, like the Price is Right and talk shows. The family has tasked me with finding her an easy-to-use, not overly expensive device that would mentally challenge her. Ideally, I would like to get something iPad like so that she could play card games and such. But the Internet connectivity and advanced features are completely unnecessary. Is there a simple device that will let her easily play some games?"
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Ask Slashdot: Touchscreen Device For the Elderly?

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  • Touchscreen? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheRealMindChild (743925) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @11:35AM (#37958214) Homepage Journal
    Are you sure a touchscreen is what you really want? Have you ever used a touchscreen to play games? Constantly having your arm at attention and moving your hands around blocks screen real estate is a really big minus most people don't consider. Get her a Nintendo hand held.
    • Re:Touchscreen? (Score:5, Informative)

      by ZackSchil (560462) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @11:39AM (#37958234)

      Hahahaha

      This is the worst suggestion since Hitler's painting instructor told him to go into politics.

    • by newsdee (629448)

      Seconded. The NDS XL would be easier to grab, see, and use (it comes with a bigger stylus).
      And it's cheaper than an iPad...

      • When people get older they don't just have issues with motor control (stiff fingers, shaky hands, etc.), they also have problems with the feeling in their digits. So not only is it harder to hold and manipulate things because your fingers don't want to move in as controllable a manner as when you are younger, it is harder to feel them. Now at what age that happens is variable, for example I watched Henry Townsend [wikipedia.org] playing guitar and piano, and he was in his mid 90s, and he played almost to the day of his dea

        • I'd second that. A big tablet (10") is only part of the answer. As important, as usual, are the ergonomics peripherals: a "bed" table, and a holder so that so doesn't have to hold the device, and it's at a comfortable angle for viewning and touching.
          I'd go with a iPhone, probably Gen1, just to be sure to have lots support and software. Preloaded with music and films and pictures of her family, too.

          • by tomhudson (43916)

            a "bed" table

            Ever use one of those?

            She's probably better off with a really big light-weight pillow to rest it on (assuming no ventilation or heat build-up issues).

    • Somehow I doubt an 80-year-old woman has the manual dexterity to operate the buttons on a handheld Nintendo unit.
    • 80 years old - dry skin? Are you sure that a capacitive touch screen will work as well for her as it does for you? Might want to try one out before committing.

    • Have you ever used a touchscreen to play games? Constantly having your arm at attention and moving your hands around blocks screen real estate is a really big minus most people don't consider.

      Have you ever used a touch-enabled device to play CARD GAMES? Touch-based devices offer more intuitive and easier-to-hit targets than the abstracted controls of something like a Nintendo hand held. Incidentally (not really), there is much anecdotal evidence that elderly people [businessweek.com] do very well [nwsource.com] with iPads [lawmed.com]. In some cases,

    • Likely the staff will steal it and buy crack. I used to deliver expensive rental medical devices to nursing homes. Not a real lower limit on who they'll hire. If you buy one, get the anti-theft app, altho I think it will do no good. iGadget theft is rampant now, and craigslist enables the market.
  • I don't think that you'll find many tablet devices without wifi, so I don't know why you're discounting the iPad because of that,.

    You should probably consider size as one of the main factors, along with ease of use. A big screen is pretty important when you get far-sighted with age.

  • by MrMickS (568778) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @11:40AM (#37958248) Homepage Journal

    Why wouldn't you want your Grandma to be able to access the internet? If she's still got it mentally then easy access to the internet might be good. My mother, in her 70's uses her iPad to access the Internet everyday.

    • by rajohn (73702)

      Dude! Give Granny the NET for Chris Sake!!!

    • Why wouldn't you want your Grandma to be able to access the internet?

      The internet is a stepping stone to harder drugs... such Netflix and Facebook.

    • Re:Why no internet (Score:4, Interesting)

      by rtfa-troll (1340807) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @12:41PM (#37958724)

      This.

      With an iPad or even an Android tablet you can install newspaper applications, for example. She probably read those when she could and giving her simple, immediately she turns it on or hits the home button access to the next days paper can be really one of the best forms of mental stimulation.

      Find four apps that she likes from her past (a family blog with recent photos would be ideal). Put them on the front page so she immediately gets to something she likes. Set her up simple email, make sure she doesn't have a high limit (low limit is fine) credit card or bank account number handy and let her loose. We've had very little problem with a 90 year old and a laptop (though she started around 80). I don't see how an iPad could possibly be more of a problem

      Just one comment. Beware that touch devices may need extra fine motor skills. You may find that a laptop with a large keyboard is actually more suitable than an iPad, depending on how much control she has over her fingers. Also keyboard skills may be a good investment for when eyesight begins to go.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Seconded. I gave my 80 year old grandma an iPad (even though I deeply despise Apple, but here it's the right thing), and Internet is THE key feature.
      Because women's preferred free time activity always has to do with socializing and communicating, and old people often get lonely because their partners and friends die off and somehow we younger people are dicks and write them off too.

      Now she can Skype and mail with all of us, she can read, play games with the friends left, and all in all she just seems happie

      • by Draveed (664730)
        This is exactly what I was thinking about doing for my mom! I can't stand Apple, but I'm considering putting my hatred aside and getting her an iPad just because it's probably going to be the simplest tablet for her to use. I often worry about how she passes the day with daytime TV and some local newspapers. It would be nice to get her in touch with old friends. Get her a few simple game apps, or some more news sources for her to read. Maybe get her addicted to Farmville like my aunt...
    • by dballanc (100332)

      It may not be possible. At the home where my grandmother is (just had her 105th b-day) there is no wifi access for residents. A few years/decades ago I would have loved to have had access to an ipad for her, but unfortunately it would be beyond her at this point. On the other hand I know a lady in her nineties who spends many hours a day playing online bridge/poker and would probably wilt away without the net.

    • by Lanteran (1883836)

      Because this. [wordpress.com]

  • Get an iPad (Score:5, Informative)

    by Cosmic Debris (650504) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @11:43AM (#37958270)
    My father (now 83) got the original iPad literally the day it came out. Yes, it was expensive but he's really loved it. He plays online games with my sister, nieces and nephews. We set him up to stay logged on to facebook to get the latest grandbaby pictures from my nephew's wife. My brother taught him to buy ebooks, too. He loves to read and is an inveterate insomniac so this alone was worth it. Now if he can't sleep and nobody is awake to play Scrabble, he can download a new book that catches his interest.

    He has a computer (old G5 Mac tower) but rarely uses it now since the iPad can be used virtually anywhere in his home.

    It's also reduced the number of "how to" and troubleshooting calls we get from him. For an 83-YO former pastor he does pretty good technically and recently figured out how to properly install the OS/X drivers on his G5 for a scanner/printer on his own.

    Short answer: by all means get an iPad. It has the richest set of games and social media connections. My $.02.

    • by lynnae (2439544)
      My mother did the same and still loves her iPad.

      However there are considerations that need to be made, especially the ergonomics issues that have been posted.
      And also, a iPad requires either an internet connection, or a computer to connect it to (with an internet connection). I'm not sure if a computer running iTunes is required to do a first time boot with the new iPad/iOS anymore, but you do need one in order to update it. The OP said an internet connection was unnecessary, but it would still need to
      • by Anonymous Coward
        iOS 5 can update without a PC being connected to it.
    • by rwa2 (4391) *

      Yeah, as much as I'd like to recommend an Android device, just go with a 1st Gen iPad. Any kind of touchscreen is going to be challenging for her to use, and I don't think she'd really use it much anyway. But at least this way you won't have to put up with all your family blaming you for getting something that was "too complicated for grandma".

      Load it up with family photo albums and videos, and maybe some audio books / audio messages from the family that she might like to keep her company.

      As for internet,

    • by Patch86 (1465427)

      Although to be fair, you can do all of those things with the latest Android tablets too. And I fear answering the question "which tablet should I get for my elderly relative" with "any of the best selling tablets" might be less helpful.

      I wonder idly at the OPs "not too expensive" comment. An iPad is far from cheap (and all the other high-end tablets are no better). I mean you can get a Dell Streak or BlackBerry Playbook for not very much, but I doubt anyone would recommend it.

      One slightly different suggesti

    • As much as I dislike Apple products myself you have outlined a situation I wholly believe no device could better fill than the iPad and given detailed evidence as to why. Somebody mod Cosmic Debris up!

    • Re:Get an iPad (Score:4, Interesting)

      by houghi (78078) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @12:40PM (#37958704)

      I gave my parents a phone designed for the elderly because they could not use their normal cell phone. They are unable to use the new one as well.

      Getting money out of a machine is a struggle for them.

      They are not stupid. They are just afraid of technology, I think.

      So when they want to call me they use the landline. When they want to get money, they go to the bank and when they want to know something, they go to the pub and ask somebody else to look it up for them. As they live in Spain and speak Spanish there is no issue.

      I think it is more important to have the social interaction with people around them then it is to sit in front of a screen and see me who lives in another country.

      Or as others might say: don't look for a technical solution for a social problem.

    • Just get her a refurbished original iPad. But don't be surprised if the nursing home has WiFi, most do lately. If no WiFi load up the Photo app with a ton of family photos. Scan in some old photo albums too.

      Just Google iPad + Elderly:
      http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/thinking-tech/ipad-opens-digital-doors-for-the-elderly/3674
      http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/health/2016410946_srpad07.html
      http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/10_34/b4192039623670.htm
      http://www.unplggd.com/unplggd/look/a-simple-ipa

    • by Sloppy (14984)

      Don't listen to this emacs pimp. Teach your grandmother to use vim!

    • Exactly. Or the shorter version: Get an iPad. Duh.

      And as others have pointed out, skipping out on Internet is silly---she will get a huge benefit by being connected. eBooks, video calls, multi-player games, news, etc. If the nursing home has Wifi, then there ya go. If not, get the 3G model and have the family chip in the measly $15/mo to keep it on a basic data plan.
    • by fermion (181285)
      I would also say just get an iPad. I know two people in your general situation and the iPad works well. The Internet connectionn is still useful because they can still read and the Internet allows to read international papers.
  • by Qbertino (265505) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @11:53AM (#37958324)

    The Nintendo DSi XL is comparetively cheap, has awsome games that the elderly love (such as the Professor Layton series) and it was built with old-timers in mind. Big screen, modest colors, large pen-like extra stylus and absolut idiot-proof usage. Get her one plus one or two Layton titles and some other slow or non-action puzzle game. ... Most likely she'll ask for more sooner than you'll expect.

    And who knows, maybe she'll also be kicking your sorry ass at MarioCart in 2 months aswell. :-)

    • by HalAtWork (926717)
      Other good titles would be Hotel Dusk, Peggle Dual Shot, Word Jong, Scrabble, Puzzle Quest, Quest Trio (matching game, Mahjongg, Solitaire), Big Brain Academy/Brain Age, maybe even Dragon Quest (doesn't matter which one, as long as it's the mainline series), or Harvest Moon or Animal Crossing. Too bad Picross DS is out of print... Picross 3D is alright and might still be available, but the 2D one was really great...
  • I don't think any touchscreen device is going to suit your needs. The first poster is quite right. All tablets are designed as internet devices and they don't have much functionality offline. I'd suggest a cheap laptop running Ubuntu. I've set very elderly senior citizens up with this before and they immediately understood it - far better than the alternatives. The selection of casual games is probably the best mix for what you need as well.
  • Don't underestimate the power of Skype in connecting to family around the world. Ipad does video. Really nice for the grandkids to chat and wave to grandma. Or make contact with long unseen relatives.

    My mom has problems with the touch sensitivity. Her hand shakes and often when holding the edges fingers will slip to the touch part causing unwanted actions. Added Iballz and a case and still somewhat problematic.

  • Wrong approach (Score:5, Insightful)

    by tomhudson (43916) <.barbara.hudson. ... bara-hudson.com.> on Saturday November 05, 2011 @12:04PM (#37958390) Journal

    but even so, she spends most of her days just watching daytime TV, like the Price is Right and talk shows. The family has tasked me with finding her an easy-to-use, not overly expensive device that would mentally challenge her

    Try watching something WITH her instead. Or, since her eyesight is still good, playing cards or something else that is not physically demanding, and allows for both mental stimulation and social interaction. There's a reason you see all those old folks playing bridge or bingo or dominoes, and it's not because of the games themselves. (get one of those 12 or 15-pip domino sets and give it a whirl - everyone from 9 to 90 can enjoy it).

    • by mjr167 (2477430)

      But that would require time and effort. It's much easier to throw money at buying shinies. In all honesty though, I'm sure he visits his grandma regularly like a good grandson and is just trying to get her something for when he is at work, etc. You can't visit grandma every second of every day.

      The real question is why he doesn't think she needs the internet? You can play bridge and Kanasta on the internet with other people and have way more fun than playing solitaire.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I'd agree with that, in general, but maybe not in specific, depending on her situation.

      In general, my thoughts are:

      #1) Visit with her. Often.
      #2) Tell her about what's going on in your life and in your kids' lives. Women tend to live until their grandkids have kids, so there is a strong genetic interest in family there. Pass her advice back to the kids ("Granmy says...")

      If she has good muscular control...
      #3) Start with common games, but wor

      • > #1) Visit with her. Often.

        Yes, assuming it's physically possible -- the OP could be hundreds or even thousands of miles away. Nothing beats in-person interaction. But if her eyesight is still good, then electronic means can be a great substitute. As long as she can see you, that will be enough, even if she can't hear very well.

        My grandma lived to 102, and although her hearing started to go in her 80's, she could still read and do crosswords into her late 90's. (She was a huge fan of Wheel Of Fortune.;

        • Yes, assuming it's physically possible -- the OP could be hundreds or even thousands of miles away. Nothing beats in-person interaction.

          The FaceTime feature of the iPad would be nice for that kind of situation.

    • by cstdenis (1118589)

      Visiting her is nice, but people have lives, have to go to work, etc, and can't spend all their time with those they want to.

      His initial request is still perfectly valid to give her something to do between his visits.

      • by tomhudson (43916)

        His initial request is still perfectly valid to give her something to do between his visits.

        No it's not. A computing device with no net connection. That's as isolating as a cell phone with no cell phone account. Once you get past playing bejeweled, there's not much ...

        Come on, at least email ...

  • by Anonymous Coward

    The family has tasked me with finding her an easy-to-use, not overly expensive device that would mentally challenge her. Ideally, I would like to get something iPad like so that she could play card games and such.

    Easy to use, inexpensive, mentally challenging example activity being playing card games.

    Hmmm... I'm thinking a deck of playing cards. Big cards if her eyesite is poor. Also maybe a big book of card games for extra challenges. Do I win?

  • http://reviews.cnet.com/tablets/viewsonic-g-tablet/4505-3126_7-34431221.html?tag=subnav

  • by sribe (304414) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @12:15PM (#37958492)

    Internet connectivity would give her access to far more mental stimulation than a few games, plus potential social interaction as well.

    • by clockt (882520)

      Internet connectivity would give her access to far more mental stimulation than a few games, plus potential social interaction as well.

      Absolutely. We're just going to bury one of ours this week, pegged out at 91. She wasn't great technically but email was her great passion for the last couple of years, and when her computer broke (Old PC running XP and outlook express, so it was regularly falling over) she got pretty grumpy and we'd run around and fix it. - and no, I am not suggesting you give your aged dear ones computers that are shit so they get to see you more often; neither you nor they will be seeing the bright side of that sort of

    • by antdude (79039)

      Agreed. I have speech and hearing impediments, and other disabilities so social interactions and moving around are difficult for me. Internet and BBS' made me more social with communications.

  • by monomania (595068) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @12:19PM (#37958522)

    ...I don't think you should undersell Internet connectivity. Although fortunately I am not confined to bed 24/7, I spend more than half the day there, and Netflix streaming (which would be a wonderful gift you could frurnish her) is a savior; given the paucity of her programming now it would undoubtedly improve her day, and she would have some control over her entertainment choices. That and a twitter client (and set up the family on Twitter -- those that aren't already) and the family can stay engaged with her; an iPad or Android device with WiFi and a camera a can give her even more interactivity over Facetime or Skype.

    You have an opportunity here to improve her daily life to an incredible degree, and obviously want to. Were it myself I'd even obtain here a Mi-Fi device and account if there was little or no Wi-Fi were she is living. Were it my own Grandmother I would not by skimping here.

    • (Sorry- posting here as you had no public email listed.)

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      I'll send you the information I found if you like. My email is in my account details.

  • Wii (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Yakasha (42321) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @12:22PM (#37958548) Homepage
    As has been mentioned before, be careful about ergonomics. Holding an iPad (or similar device) while confined to a bed can produce neck pain (if you hold it in your lap and look down) or arm fatigue (if you try to hold it up to avoid the neck pain).

    My recommendation would be a wii, which I believe has already been successfully used in a few nursing homes. I think it would be even more successful for individual cases like this.

    • Cheap - under $200 for a full setup
    • Light, easy to use controllers
    • Her vision is up to snuff, so menus are not a problem
    • non-HD hookups, meaning better chance of connecting to older hospital/nursing home/fixed income tvs
    • exercise apps to improve health
    • chat apps to talk to the grand kids
    • Something for the kids to do while you visit grandma
    • netflix, for even more tv options!
    • I use the Apple 'SmartCover' with my iPad, sitting in front of me on the hospital-style cantilevered table that adjusts perfectly for height as I recline in the bed. The iPad touch sensitivity is very light and quick; in fact, I have more problems tapping the screen too hard and knocking over the pad when I am using an app in portrait mode needing lots of touch input, and have sometimes turned to my 12South 'Compass' stand for a solid easel-style display (very stabile, I recommend it).

  • You should at least have her watch Jeopardy instead of the Price is Right... And yes, the talk shows will make you dumber. She definitely would be better off with Y&R, and General Hospital...

  • The Sony Android Honeycomb tablet. Laid down on a table, its screen is still slightly inclined. It doubles nicely as a remote control (which it is what Sony optimized it for). It's 9" inch screen makes it slightly smaller than the iPad or the Samsung 10.1 Tab, but it weighs less than the iPad and weighs about the same as the Samsung tab (but still feels nicer in your hands than the Tab).

    Like most slightly more expensive tablets, it has good haptic feedback. Do not skimp on that, especially for the hard of h

  • Games aren't the only thing that will mentally challenge someone...hell, most iPad games don't.

    If you want an inexpensive tablet-format device that will mentally challenge her, get a Kindle or a Nook. They're great for elderly people because they allow the font to be increased for easy viewing. And with the tight integration with Amazon/B&N, she wouldn't have to get out of bed to order new books. The Kindle even has some pretty fun games, though the eInk screen makes the interface crap (Nook might have

  • I hope I never become one of the elderly.
    I want to be old, aged, a mummy whatever. That is ok.
    But those elderly are the worst. Always using those clunky low spec gadgets no one else would touch. Not cool.

  • by Joiseybill (788712) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @12:48PM (#37958792)

    This general question has been a part-time quest of my own. I cared for a loved blind grandmother for several years, and realize my own fragility. There are a lot of agencies out there, and support groups / not-for-profit orgs working on different areas. Many of these are slowly starving because of the economy ( less subsidy, less generous donors) - but still around and happy to help.

    In the big picture, just keep in mind that I found help and helpful advise just by reading/trolling on Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimers, and other orgs - in addition to the " Senior Services" and various blind orgs. ( props to LightHouse!)

    In the short term, if you can afford an iPad, why are you concerned about 'extra' stuff? Believe me, I've been on the neutral-evil side when it comes to Apple fanaticism, but the iPad is in my home. For the set of purposes you laid out, this is probably one of the lightest, easiest to use devices.
    Borrow (or buy) one, and some bluetooth devices ( mouse, keyboard, trackball, drawing pad) that can work with it.
          -- my purchase came from (USA) Target, with a 45-day no questions refund policy.
            (plus a 10% discount for accepting their credit card)

      I just mean, if you want something "like the iPad", then get the iPad. Android devices have many similar abilities, (and WebOS devices, too) but few have the quality screen, battery life, and natural resistance to tampering that is genetic to the Apple family.
    By all means - get what you can afford, and what is useful - not a dust collector.

    And yes.. as other folks have suggested, there is nothing .. **NOTHING** that is more fulfilling, mentally stimulating, and emotionally positive than loved company. The basic stuff like reading a book together, reminiscing, or even learning to use two iPads (or Androids, or tablet PCs) to play scrabble, yahtzee, bingo, or whatever.. as long as you do it together, is a lot more fun and fulfilling.
    Plus it will help Grandma learn if she knows you are coming back to play or video chat to see that new baby in the family.

    Caveat: get the service contract, and take photos of the serial numbers. Use tracking software. Even in a "good" place, lots of stuff gets misplaced/lost/stolen in retirement/rehab homes. If Grandma does actually like the device, then losing it to a crash or light-fingered help will be depressing.

  • How about a bunch of her favorite books? Her eyesight is fine and its interface is one she is familiar with.

  • If you grandmother is really approaching the end of the journey, should not she be concerned with other things other than playing with an iPad? Like praying and saving her immortal soul? Do you think SJ played with an iPad on his deathbed? Get whatever time is needed off work, get the family together, make sure she get's daily visits from a pastor. The most important thing right now is to make peace with God and family.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Not everyone is so religious. If anything, most american only do religion as a pastime. If she was, then I doubt this topic would have come into view in the first place. As for time spending with love ones, it's definitely good to have but there are limits to this. End of journey can mean more then a decade sometimes in weaken condition. Family simply isn't gonna be there all the time as it isn't practical. For those times, things to do that mentally engages her is a good thing. Basically, at this point, th

    • by couchslug (175151)

      Don't presume Granny shares YOUR superstition. There are others, as well as "none of the above".

      • I do not claim I know everything about this woman but I can draw reasonable conclusions from the available data. She is in her 80s and an American. Atheists are endangered species in America as is, and were even more rare 70-80 years ago when this woman received her upbringing.
    • by rahvin112 (446269)

      That's got to be one of the funniest posts I've ever read. Either you are a very good troll or you are a seriously in need of medication and some state sponsored help.

  • . . . it's what's on it. Get Skype or Google Hangout or MSN Messenger or whatever gets her family's faces in front of her, and visa versa. She'd much rather see you than Bob Barker.
  • The device must have Wifi and you make her a /. account. Trying to figure out what the hell is going on here is a challenge for many nerds; it should do for our beloved grannies as well!

    One of the hardest things I ever had to do was explaining to my granny the reasons for the existence and more importantly, the meaning, of the film Alien 2 which she dutifully watched with me during family gathering. Since we are talking about farmer-granny, who worked 12-14 hours a day all her life, was young woman during W

  • Get her any e-reader. Something like a first-gen Nook would be perfect. It would give her lots to read and access to other apps; it's fairly cheap, so it won't be a big deal when it gets stolen (which it will); and the battery life is great.

  • by Tom (822) on Saturday November 05, 2011 @01:36PM (#37959178) Homepage Journal

    Why do you decide what's necessary? How about either asking her, or leaving it in and if it isn't used then it isn't used.

    It's not like tablets without Internet would be much cheaper. And when you think tablets already, I think the iPad is what you want. You can pick up a 1st gen device fairly cheaply these days. It's easy to use, you can use parental controls to make sure she doesn't mess anything up that would require you coming over to fix it, and there's lots and lots of apps available.

  • There are lots of people coming and going in care homes. The elderly are easy prey for "losing" things and are in no position to make accusations. Whatever you get, make sure it's strongly attached to something immovable.
  • Let me break this down:
    --easy to use
    --not expensive = less than iPad
    --iPad-like but not iPad
    --no internet
    --no "advanced features" (whatever that means)

    Nope. Doesn't exist. Closest thing to what you described was the HP Touchpad when it was $99. [slashdot.org] You can still get a Touchpad for about $200, [ebay.com] and if you're really trying to go cheap you can do that, but honestly all tablets are pretty worthless without internet, there's no amount of applications you can put on it that will make up for the fact that the
    • by mspohr (589790)
      I do agree that a touchpad type device would be good. However, you recommend an HP touchpad (obsolete) because of its low cost or an iPad (high cost). There are other better supported options. Both the Nook color and Kindle Fire are low cost and offer most of what the iPad does for about $200. They will certainly meet the needs of grandma.
    • So here's the options:
      A) ~$200 = HP Touchpad off eBay and install Android because there's very few apps in the webOS market designed for tablets, only a few thousand.
      B) iPad

      Am I the only one who thinks he should get a part-time job for a few weeks to raise the extra $200 to get his dying grandmother something that will make her happy in her last few months of life?

      I was very tempted to pepper that with obscenities to a degree that would make Penn Jillette look normal. Jesus Flying Christ on a bike (there).

  • Is there a simple device that will let her easily play some games?

    Yes, as a matter of fact indeed there is. I believe your grandmother may refer colloquially to this simple but rare device as "grandson with deck of cards."

    Now, hang your head in shame you selfish bastard.

    • I'm sure _you_ have unlimited time to spend with your grandma, but I assure you that most people have jobs, families, hobbies, and generally lives outside of their aging relatives. Don't get me wrong here, we love them and visit them, but we can't be there 24/7 -- and we want them to have something to do when we AREN'T there with a pack of cards. So try not to be such a pretentious prick next time, and instead of thinking up some ridiculous/asinine statement to make yourself look foolish to thousands of s
  • I'm wondering about the new Kindle Fire. I have no direct exposure to it at all, beyond what I've read and seen on the Innertubes, but if your grandmother has all her mental capabilities, she might enjoy some reading matter as well as puzzles and games. The Kindle would give her access to books and magazines in a format where the print can be made extra-extra large if that is what she needs. I don't have anybody elderly at the moment, although I cared for my Aged Mum. If I did have somebody, I'd be looking

  • See: http://www.changemakers.com/node/113512/comments [changemakers.com]

    Have you thought about something voice activated, like Siri on an iPad?

  • Personally, I'd get her some Agatha Christie novels to keep the little grey cells active.
  • My mother suffers from Alzheimer's and some other conditions. She recently spent about a month in a skilled nursing facility, doing physical rehab and strengthening before returning to live with me. About the time she was admitted, I purchased an HP touchpad for her as a gift. I think that the device was great for her, but not in the ways I expected. She used it almost daily. I was able to load it up with a lot of music, which she enjoyed greatly, And the slideshow function also received rave reviews

  • If she is in a home, she only has so much time left. Get her something nice, like a fully featured IPad, and spend a few days with her showing her how to use it. She will appreciate the extra time spent, and her learning to use Facebook, Twitter, and other apps will give her that extra interaction with the lives of others outside of her home that she may be craving. Heck, she might even start getting more visitors if she can get in touch with them more often!

    Also, working out the speech to text features for

  • She doesn't want a computer. Get the family and any of her remaining friends to visit her more often.

  • Interview the client.

    Does granny want it? If you don't ask her what she wants, you really aren't address *her* needs, are you?

    It's common for younger people to project what is "good" and "healthy" onto older persons. Don't. It's demeaning and unrealistic.

    Interview your actual client.
    • Mod parent up: No point on getting something she won't use. Perhaps show her a few things and ask her if she likes them for something to do through out the day. She might just ask you for a deck of playing cards and a bed table (at least my great aunt did at 90 when we were taking care of her). Or she might just want some old school paperback books or just a nice remote with large print buttons. Just because they aren't playing a game doesn't mean they aren't using their minds. Many old people love watching
  • - Facebook
    - FaceTime
    - NetFlix
    - iBooks
    - Zinio / Newsstand
    - Angry Birds

    Done.

  • by Barryke (772876)

    I say iPad.
    (disclaimer: i am an Android fan)

    I shouldn't explain more, but if you insist:
    I think it is perfect for consumers who don't want much choice, but just an experience that works, without much tech-babble or knowhow. Once people understand that they can slide the screen (sometimes) and can touch things, its very intuitive (especially) for anyone not experienced with Personal Computers or Microsoft Windows start menu's.

    So in short i say:
    consumer = iPad, and
    "prosumer" or content creator = Android, and

  • the best touch screen based system i've seen, designed for ease of use by non-computer users, was the PLATO-IV system.
    in 1982.

  • I own and regularly use a Xoom and at work several colleagues use other Android tablets - some iPads floating around as well. They all have one thing in common and that's the weight that gets uncomfortable after more than a few minutes of use. Most people feel the need to put it down on the table, or rest it on their lap. If someone has poor eyesight and frail arms, I can see this being a real problem - the weight will be even more of a problem, while the need to hold it closer to one's face is greater.
  • I recently gave my 90+ year old grandmother one of the HP Touchpad's I got from the HP firesale. Much to my surprise, she took to it right away. I set up her email, skype, few games, etc. and supplied her with a dock and bluetooth keyboard. She was even using it in the hospital last week when she was in getting a pacemaker, the nurses were quite impressed apparently.

    Am certain an iPad, or Android tablet would be just as suitable, they are all pretty easy to use and if you preconfigure it for them, they'l

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