Guest Post: Adult Child Develops iPad Apps for Senior Mom

Paul Rhoades is an adult child and a subscriber to As Our Parents Age. He keeps an eye on his 90-year-old mother and has introduced her to the iPad. I’ve looked at his apps, developed to help her use the iPad more effectively, but I have not been anywhere near my dad’s iPad so I have not downloaded them. Paul’s story, explaining how he has jumped into the iPad application design business, is interesting and, I think, worth sharing. Take a look at Paul’s applications if you are currently helping a senior parent learn how to use an iPad. He has also written an interesting iPad help document which is available for free on his website. Pretty cool for an adult child to observe a parent’s technology needs and get right on with developing a better and more helpful solution.

Paul’s iPad Post

As a retired senior living in Ottawa, Canada, I have a long history with computing. My first job after graduating from university in 1966 was as a computer programmer with a life insurance company headquartered in Ottawa, and I even programmed Honeywell 800 computers in assembler language with punch cards. I have never been far from the industry, and I have seen many new developments in the high-tech arena over that time but none have excited me as much as the iPad.

Presently I am building iPad apps for seniors and others who have limited computer experience. Many people look to the iPad to as an entry point because of its accessible user interface. After observing my 90-year old Mom struggle with some of the simplest iPad applications, I decided to build her some. For example, she had never used a calculator because she didn’t know what some of the symbols meant. So I built her a calculator with no symbols, just words.

At first I had no idea how to go about this and no experience , but articles on the net implied that it could be relatively easy. So I paid my $100 and signed up as an Apple Developer and began the process of designing apps that I thought would be useful to my mother. I am very comfortable with PhotoShop and used it to design all the graphics and screens for the apps. I wrote a functional narrative to describe how I wanted the app to work.

I hired a female programmer and e-mailed her the files so she could generate the code for my apps. When we finished we submitted the apps to iTunes. A week of so later, after Apple reviewed my applications, the iTunes App Store accepted my programs. You can check out our first five apps at

The real strength of the Apple iTunes approach is that the business side is all wrapped up and delivered by Apple. They sell the items and collect the money. They keep 30% and sent the balance directly to your bank account. Nothing could be easier.

I wrote an iPad help document, The Simple Suite Tips for iPad Beginners, and it is free to view and download. It’s provides generalized help on starting up and using an iPad.

The pundits say that lots of iPads will be given to senior Moms and Dads this Christmas. I hope that’s true for many reasons.

Paul Rhoades, Ottawa, Canada

2 thoughts on “Guest Post: Adult Child Develops iPad Apps for Senior Mom

  1. The Simple Suite Apps make everything easier! They are ideal for computer novices.
    I bought my grandma (who had never used a computer before) an ipad for her birthday. When choosing some apps for her, I realized almost all of them were overly complicated for a person with NO computer background…The Simple Suite is the complete opposite. These apps truly are SIMPLE! They make using the ipad even easier. I highly recommend them.


  2. Mr Paul Rhoades is sure on to something big. I can just see so many older parents getting value from his apps to make techology easier to use and understand – it might even help younger “seniors” like me who are also somewhat behind the tech curve! Well done.


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