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Tablets for Seniors

Written by Kristen Hicks
 about the author
3 minute readLast updated March 29, 2023

Technology is advancing all around us, and many of these great innovations can make seniors’ lives easier. Whether your parent wants to find a new recipe to try, explore local events, stay occupied with fun brain games, or keep up with family and friends from across the country on social media, tablets help seniors effortlessly access information and stay engaged. Learn how intuitive and easy-to-use tablets are changing the game for older adults.

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If your senior loved one is resistant to learning technology for whatever reason, your best path to overcoming his or her objection is to find out how to make it accessible and easy for them. While it might seem counterintuitive at first, the best device to use isn’t a desktop or laptop computer – it’s a tablet.
Tobey Gordon Dichter, whose company Generations on Line did 36 usability studies with seniors on tablet use, states that seniors were most “…wowed by the ease, fun and convenience of tablet technology.”
When you consider the issues seniors often have with technology, the preference for tablets makes more sense:

1. The internet’s built in.

If a senior doesn’t already have internet in their home, having to get it set up (and pay for it) presents an additional deterrent – not to mention having to deal with occasional troubleshooting when it doesn’t work the way it should. Tablets have internet built in. Seniors can count on it to be there in the device when they need it, without having to deal with any external setup. Tablets also have the ability to add apps easily for extra features.

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2. They have large fonts.

This is one of the big benefits of tablets for anyone with failing eyesight. On computers and smartphones alike it can be a challenge to read the small type that younger eyes often have no issue with. You can make it bigger on both those types of devices, but the process of doing so is especially easy on a tablet with a quick movement of the fingers.

3. They’re easy to type on.

The experience of trying to type on a smartphone is a big deterrent for many seniors. The keyboard on a desktop or laptop is easier, but the machines themselves are often bulky. Tablets bridge the gap. You can use a keyboard with them if you want, but even if you don’t, you have much larger “keys” to work with for typing than on smaller devices.

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4. They’re intuitive.

Figuring out the basics of using a tablet is easy for most seniors. A few instructions from class, a loved one or a program will usually do the trick. Once they’re shown the basics, some time exploring the tablet on their own will likely leave them comfortable using it for the main things they need it for moving forward.

5. They’re light and mobile.

Computers are hard to move. A senior can’t easily keep one nearby wherever they may be sitting or bring it along with them when they visit a loved one. A tablet, by comparison, can be easily carried and used wherever they are. If they prefer to sit in a comfortable armchair, the tablet can come with them. If they want to bring it along when they visit their kids, no problem.
If you think a tablet may be just the thing to win your senior loved one over to giving the internet a try, head out to an electronics store with them. Let them check out different options and play around a bit with each. See which tablets they have an easy time reading on, an easy time zooming in with and on which they find the icons easy to see and intuitive to figure out.


Meet the Author
Kristen Hicks

The information contained in this article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to constitute medical, legal or financial advice or create a professional relationship between A Place for Mom (of which OurParents is a trademark) and the reader.  Always seek the advice of your health care provider, attorney or financial advisor with respect to any particular matter and do not act or refrain from acting on the basis of anything you have read on this site.  Links to third-party websites are only for the convenience of the reader; A Place for Mom does not recommend or endorse the contents of the third-party sites.