iPads for seniors as a way to decrease isolation and stimulate intellectual curiosity? You bet! After writing over 20 iPad for Dad columns about my dad and his iPad, I could have told them so and my dad can, too.
I know that Steve Jobs was not thinking about seniors in the elder years of their lives when he conceived Apple’s iPad, but it’s the perfect tool for them — lightweight, easy to use, intuitive, connected to a world of resources, and after just a bit of training, it enables seniors to do things that they want to do (check news, watch movies, connect electronically with family members, etc.).
An article in today’s Washington Post (July 14, 2013), Successful Program to Help D.C. Senior Citizens Use iPads to Prevent Isolation Will Expand, that describes a District of Columbia pilot program, funded by the AARP Foundation, that distributed 55 iPads to seniors and offers classes on a regular basis. According to the report, no one has dropped out of the training and no iPads have been lost. Now the program is doubling.
We live in a connected world — in fact we take it for granted. People who do not have access may experience isolation. Moreover, many elders either do not have access to the Internet, or if they do, there’s not get enough training to get started with life’s technology tasks. As they age into later years, elders are still eager to learn — lifelong learners, actually – and they can be well served if their adult children or their communities help them gain access to technology tools and entre to the required training.
I’d love to know where else there are other successful iPad programs for seniors.