My father is nearly 90. He has a home and a second home with a computer at each. He has had PC's for nearly a decade. He drove me crazy with them. "How do I get into my email?" That was a question I heard at least once a week. He wouldn't write down instructions. He got frustrated. If the computer at one home was in any way different than the other one, he would complain about how difficult the transition was and the current one was always slower. "I can't print out my emails." I heard that one, too."
He still reads a lot. He surfs the internet some. He prints out every joke his friends send to him. He has a file of funny jokes because he didn't want to learn how to use the folders in his email.
OK, do you get the idea of who I am dealing with?
So, two years ago when he wasn't moving so well and I knew hip surgery would sideline him for a time I asked my mother if I could get Dad an iPad. Close to her exact words were, "Honey, you know how much trouble he has with his PC's. I'm afraid the money will be wasted. He won't understand it and won't use it."
I am told that I never listen. So, I bought him one anyway. Now, I'm a PC person, so I could be of little help in even turning on an iPad, but I would try. My theory was to get him simply to be able to retrieve and write brief replies in his email. We went to the Apple store for an overview and setup.
I should tell you that a couple of his friends already had them, so he was motivated to keep up with his buddies. He figured out how to get his email and loved the fact that he could be anywhere in his house and get email. The fact that he could not print bothered him, but he could still use his PC, so he wasn't locked out of printing.
He lives on the other side of the country. My mom told me he loved the thing and took it everywhere.
He then wanted to put his pictures from his camera on the iPad. I visited him and we learned how to dock his camera and download pictures. He must have shown me his pictures 10 times over two days. He showed doormen, waitresses, and then he learned how to attach them to emails. Now I get a few pictures every week.
He figured out Safari. He reads restaurant reviews and movie schedules. He is thrilled that he knows the trick to increase the font size to show mom the texts he wants her to read.
You get the picture.
So, here are the criteria for tablet success.
1. Some interest in computer/tablet.
2. No fear to the level that it would prevent tinkering with the tablet.
3. Some active interest that can be followed on the internet, email, reading books, watching movies, etc.
4. Ease of first project. The first goal has to be simple and easy to repeat.
5. The rest follows, skyping grandchildren, etc.
6. Think ahead about the needs. Does he need large fonts, does he need a Kindle application or your library's application. You should learn how to use them on the tablet first, so you can show and advise. If you elderly relative is anything like mine, be patient and let them do it. Watching you will not work. He needs to do it, then repeat it until he owns it. The pride in accomplishing it makes the tablet more than an entertainment device, it becomes a trophy.
By the way, he has a massive collection of jokes in an email folder.
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