Games on the iPad for Older People
Playing Words with Friends on Her iPad
Staying in Touch with Phone, email, Skype, Now iPad Games
My 86 year old mother, an elderly widower (and avid board game player) had seven children more than half a century ago. Her offspring, grandchildren and great-grandchildren live around the world; many of us are far away from her.
We've stayed in touch through phone calls, texts, emails, Facebook, and Skype. But the quality of 'being really in touch' and feeling the intimacy of our relationship was left largely to our imaginations (and the love) and to the memories of the last time we met up. Until now.
This article is about games on the iPad for the elderly which increase the quality of communication between our mother, for example and ourselves - and between her and the rest of the world; about how immediate that communications is - being continuously updated through a game of ongoing scrabble - a 'next move' frequently played on a whim.
- Through playing word building games (and the use of incorporated 'chat'), or any fun game, we are in touch with our elderly person in a playful way. The ability to 'chat' whilst playing the game is realistic and seriously good - because we are up-to-the-minute with them, just as they are with us.
- By drawing pictures, they can expresses their artistic selves and share what they're up to, without having to get paints out and make a mess - just when the moment grabs them, even in the middle of the night.
- Because the iPad is so light, and has no wires, it's easy to move round their house - from table top to bed, or from kitchen to patio, which means elderly people are free once more to be spontaneous about what they want to do next, from looking at Google maps,(fantasizing where we are and what we might be doing) to playing scrabble, to emailing family or friends.
- Because it's about 'tapping' the screen and not typing a keyboard, it is easier for arthritic hands and fingers! (Plus there's no keyboard or mouse to lug around).
- I've included a very simple description of the iPad.
- Illustrations we made on the iPad
- An imaginary scene of dialogue and thoughts between an elderly person and a family member playing a 'word' on the 'Words with Friends' app on the iPad (to illustrate how connected we really are through the game).
The website Top 148 Paid iPhone Games writes the app Words with Friends is designed for the iPhone and is compatible with the iPad and says there are "More than 20 million people addicted to the word building, triple score seeking, chat bubble sending goodness".
You can download a 'free' version to try it out - and then simply switch to a 'paid' version really easily. The price rages from approximately from a one off price 1$- $3.
- You can play up to 20 games at the same time.
- It has in game chat messaging
- Push notifications that are speedy.
My other favorite iPad games that I think elderly people might get a lot of fun out of are games they have always played and are completely familiar with, games that bring back fond memories:
Monopoly app which is a favorite with Top 148 too. The classic version is great! Check it out on the Top 148 Paid iPhone games.
Winner of the Best Free game award app in 2008 was Chess with Friends
Elderly people can feel seriously estranged and powerless over how to stay in touch with their families, spontaneously. It isn't always easy to share the moments that are filled with the all-the-little-things-that-count-so-much, because of being separated by distance, time differences and/ or by the busy lives of their growing families.
Being separated over time creates a separation, no matter how well we try not to let that happen. Life, after all, is in the details - in things we go through, or do, or feel, in things that we don't happen to mention on that phone call, because they seem momentarily insignificant.
Piece by little piece, we select to leave out first this-little-thing then others, until we've left out gaping holes of experience. We converse with our loved one, our parent (or elderly person) - censoring our little pieces, as they do the same, until our intimate connection is holding on now by only the finest of gossamer thread; by love. How many times have we helplessly hung up on a loved one and wondered what was really going on?
Playing an interactive game on the New iPad changes all that; distance, time, being busy- they don't affect the game whatsoever. It's by playing the game we stay in touch.
Playing Words with Friends App with Older Adults
The word building games through the apps are on-going (my mother usually has 11 games on - at the same time).
It works like this;
An imaginary scenario!
You've opened your Words with Friends App
At the back of your mind somewhere you wonder how to make a great score with your letters. Hmmmm. A quick thought for your mother. She is doing the same thing. Hmmmm.
You get to bed, pull out your iPad, or iPhone and make that word. It's late but you like the idea of a chill-out moment's word-building with your mother.
Meanwhile, she's having breakfast say, and there! She has a word to play with. She thinks of you. You have written a message.
On the 'chat' icon that's so easy to find on the right of the screen you tap - "On nights now, so this will have to do for a while. All OK for you?"
She taps back "Not going swimming today. Too lazy. Hope you get enough sleep".
You find her tone a bit weird. You might want to tell her to go swimming, but you agree, if she's tired "It's best to stay home then".
There's the care. Now we both know how we are and that we are thinking of each other. You may note how strange that your mother doesn't want to go swimming, and make a further note to make sure that you will in fact play a word with her later on - on your iPhone during lunch break. You can control how her health and well being is by - being in touch.
This is the best way for an elderly person to feel connected and loved. (And mentally challenged!) And for us to 'keep an eye on them' as we keep tabs on their health (and moods) and enjoy being close.
It's a two way thing for sure.
How to Use the New iPad
My mother re- visited many of her family members in England. She met up with most of her grand children, including a grand daughter that she had not seen for more than six years, (my niece). They were chatting. Someone's iPad was on the table and my mother kept looking at it.
My niece suggested that they have a game of Scrabble since she knew how much her nanny loves playing.
"I could play you Nanny", my niece said, opening the iPad.
"I don't believe you!" replied my mother.
My niece, a very clever, kind, young lady, gave my mother a second iPad that was in the room and talked my mother through. She said
"You tap it and then I'll tap it on mine".
"Then you tap it".
And so on. It was a revelation to my mother who said
"It just appeared! You mean I can do this?!"
The two of them were scrunched up close together, totally connected. My mother whose motivation was piqued to the tilt had wanted to learn how to play the game on the iPad with my niece.
My niece made it possible by lovingly taking her through the few simple steps on the iPad. We all stood by and watched Nanny getting hooked.
My mother returned to her home in California and through the 'Words with Friends' app she continues her word game with her niece- even though they might only play a word a week!
The extra bonus in all this is that because my mother is in the middle of a game with my niece, she knows exactly what's going on for her (in her personal life, aside from the game). And although she hasn't had a play from her in quite a while, she's up to speed on her grand daughter's busy weeks. She defends her as she would if they were in the same house. She rushes to her defense, "Oh, but she's so busy at the hospital. And she's got exams all week. She hasn't got a minute!"
Now my mother knows what is going on with her grand daughter, she feels for her, imagines where she is and what her work is like in the hospital. She can pick up her iPad and Google map her and fantasize a little longer if she wants, perhaps see the hospital parking grounds and wonder which one is her car. She feels proud of her, she worries for her. She is involved with her emotionally as though they were not divided by oceans and continents, as though they were scrunched up together that day learning how to play a favorite word game of on the iPad in England.
My mother's relationship with her grandchild is vibrantly alive now. Through their iPad 'word building game' they have their own intimate connection.
A little basic information about the iPad for elderly people who might be interested in getting one.
- Its picture resolution very, very clear.
- It is a tablet, smaller than an A4 piece of paper or card and weighs only 1.44 pounds (for the Wi-Fi model.)
- It is slim and a pleasure to handle and touch.
- It can have a leather cover.
- You open it up - and immediately look at the world and talk to the world.
- It's like a phone but because it is visual, its images make it so much stronger.
- There are no cords or flexes. Its battery recharges as a mobile phone's does, and last a very long time.
- There is no keyboard. You simply tap the screen with two fingers. It's tactile and feels like silk.
- It is an immediately pleasurable object. It is in no way technologically threatening.
- You don't have to sit at a desk to access it. You can sit anywhere in your house where there is Wi-Fi reception.
- This Apple web page has more technical descriptions:
Best iPad Apps for Drawing
Making Pictures with Art Apps David Hockney
David Hockney's Fresh Flowers successful exhibition which opened in New York in December 2011 was filled with 100 beautiful images of flowers he had made on his iPhone and iPad using an app called Brushes. He used his fingers to draw. (Free copies can be download off Google Images and have a great variety of choice).
Hockney, who is 74 proves one is 'never too old to be a part of the iPad generation'.
In fact my mother has an artistic nature. My sister, who is also artistic, downloaded two apps to help my mother get started drawing and being creative on her iPad. Together they used the ASKetch app to draw Archie and the app for Blue was ArtStudio.
Now the family sends pictures round and I'll have to get a color printer again! (My black and white laser was great till recently).
Having an iPad and using it to play any kind of game with- and with as many family members and friends as you can find is ALL about having fun, keeping mentally fit and being 100% connected.
My mother loves her iPad tablet and is not afraid to learn how to use it more and more. She even took a photo of herself (with iPhoto) and sent it as an attachment. She is constantly making progress, constantly keeping herself young in mind.
I just read the ad for the new iPad and the words are simply this "Just what you need to do just about anything". I couldn't agree more. Neither can my Mother.
© 2012 Penelope Hart
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