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SENIORS! Are You ready for an iPad? Expand your horizons using a tablet as your personal assistant.

Updated on January 5, 2018
Don Bobbitt profile image

Don is a retired Engineer and shares his experiences and knowledge with his readers to help them as technology gets more complicated.

Are You Ready for an iPad or other brand of tablet?

We are all, young and old now living in a world of technologies that we are forced to use more and more often. So whether we like it or not we need to understand the tools available for accessing these technologies.

For example, today so many people have a Smartphone that we hardly even notice when someone around you pulls one out and makes a call or takes a picture of something or someone.

Well, one of the technology tools that is quickly evolving into a user friendly device is the desktop computer. The big display and large computer cabinet are giving way to the notebook computer and also into what are called a "pad" or "Tablet" .

These are portable devices, produced in many sizes made with a display that is a touchscreen, which lets the user perform the same tasks as they did on their bulky desktop or even notebook, but easier and often much faster.

My favorite of these portable devices is the iPad made by Apple Computers, and I heartily recommend the use of these to everyone.

An older iPad tablet

One of my older models of the popular iPad tablet.
One of my older models of the popular iPad tablet. | Source

PC Users, a confused Senior

The neighbor asked my wife how she liked having one of them.

During the ensuing conversation, she mentioned that she had an old notebook computer and even though it was working OK, her daughter was pushing her to upgrade to something newer and faster, because it was "on it's last legs".

She also mentioned that she liked to read, and was looking at the Kindle and the Nook readers, but really didn't understand all of the technical "mumbo jumbo" everyone was throwing at her' so she just couldn't make up her mind on that either.

She even laughed nervously and told us that when people started talking about technical "stuff" she would just get so confused that she would change the subject.

She said that she knew she needed to learn about these "pads and tablets and such" but she just couldn't make herself take the leap and buy one.

As I watched, she asked my wife a few more questions, who in turn showed her a couple of the tools she used such as email, the Amazon Kindle Reader software, the photo albums, the music player, even her cookbooks. The lady stayed for a while and then she finally said her goodbyes and wandered back to her chair at the pool.

She was obviously still at a loss over what to do and how.

It was time for a change

Later that day, my mind wandered back to the lady at the pool and her dilemma.

She was over 70 years old, she had a notebook PC that her daughter had given her nine years ago. At that time, her daughter had set her up with an email account, an old word processor for writing letters and had showed her how to pay some of her bills over the web.

Now, nine years later, her daughter lived far away, her PC was a limping dinosaur and she kept hearing about social networks like Facebook, video chatting with packages like Skype, cheap telephone services via the web, and more.

She really wanted to upgrade, but was at a loss as to how to take the leap, and in what direction to leap.

From experience, I knew that hers was a typical but still sad case. In my opinion, she should be using an iPad. She really doesn't need a full-blown "Computer" to do what she needs.

She just needs a device that has the common and handy tools that are used by everyone around the world today to communicate.

The iPad Learning Curve is not bad

But, with this lady, I wasn't so stupid as to volunteer to set her up and train her on the iPad.

Nope! Been there and Done That!

If it was just a matter of telling her which model of the iPad to order, that would be one thing, but there is a certain amount of training that an “iPad Newbie” needs to learn.

They are not high tech, nor are they complex, but they are different. You need to learn how to;

1- “sync” your iPad with the Apple iTune software package,

2- set up your email on the iPad.

3- search iTunes and select new Apps,

4- search and set up and use other WIFI sites,

5- manage your documents, music and photos on iTunes.

Visual self-training for the iPad

Teach Yourself VISUALLY iPad: Covers iOS 9 and all models of iPad Air, iPad mini, and iPad Pro (Teach Yourself VISUALLY (Tech))
Teach Yourself VISUALLY iPad: Covers iOS 9 and all models of iPad Air, iPad mini, and iPad Pro (Teach Yourself VISUALLY (Tech))

This book is a good reference for the uninitiated new user of an iPad. It takes you through the steps to evolve into a competent iPad user.


iPad Training and new skills for anyone

Actually, I am showing these examples to illustrate just how simple most of the tasks that an iPad user must be able to perform really are.

You see, a little over a year ago, I went through the process of converting my wife from just occasionally using email and the word processor on a desktop PC, to becoming a full fledged iPad user.

OMG! Now that was a whirlwind ride for both of us.

Over a short period of time she went from that person who would refuse to listen to explanations on how to perform a certain task on a PC to a brave soul who now spends several hours a day, every day, using her iPad for one thing or another.

Now, my wife uses her iPad every day for one thing or another, such as;

  1. writing and reading more emails to more people than before
  2. she now downloads and reads several books a week on Amazon (kindle books),
  3. she sends and receives pictures with our kids and other relatives
  4. she is active on Facebook,
  5. she has a personal cookbook app that she uses to record her recipes and share them with friends and family,
  6. she types documents and such and prints them wirelessly,
  7. she even takes the time to play a few of her favorite games such as solitaire, mahjong, and such.
  8. she can Google-search for anything that she wants more information about, and find any business, post office, doctor, or other service that she needs with Yellow Pages.

As I said, she is now pretty independent with her iPad, and all I have to do is upload the updates for the iPad and the loaded Apps.

She refuses to even listen to me when I try to explain how easy this part of ownership is, so I end up doing this for her every few weeks.

iPad advantages outweigh the slight pain of changing over

And, I am the Geek who loves new Apps so I'm the one who generally tells her about ones that she might like, and subsequently I end up downloading the new App for her.

But this is not because the process is hard. No, I suspect that it is because it's a "female thing" to dump the dirty work onto the spouse, whenever possible.

So, you might ask me why I didn't help the lady?

Well, One thing that I have learned, is to follow the old adage; "Never Volunteer!" Not because I am not willing to help someone, but because, she didn't ask.

If she had asked, I would have been happy to help her out and get her started, up to whatever level of competence she wanted, but, she didn't, so I didn't.

You see, the iPad is, in my opinion, the ideal tool for many seniors, and for that matter for most people who need access to technology for communications and entertainment, without having to be technical.

The iPad is the tool whose time has come, and it makes me a little sad to see so many people who limit themselves in today's high-tech world simply because they are scared to make the move.

With the iPad, the machine itself is cheap, compact and fast. The Apps are cheap and often free. And the Apps are designed to be used by people who don't really want to know how they work, they just want to know how to use them.

Oh, there are other "pads, tabs, tablets, etc" out there now. And they all purport to be "just as good" "just as fast" and to have "almost as many Apps" for them as the iPad does.

But, from my perspective, they are all playing a game of "catch up" with Apple, and will continue to do so for several years to come.

In the meantime, again from my perspective, I will ride with the leader, until there is another and better proven leader out there.

So, Are you ready for an iPad?

New iPad User tutorial

iPad iOS-11 tutorial for Beginners


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    • Don Bobbitt profile image

      Don Bobbitt 6 years ago from Ruskin Florida

      Ouch, the Big Expenses! I remember and I feel your pain. Good Luck for the next 4 years.

    • trimar7 profile image

      trimar7 6 years ago from New York

      This is on my list of electronics to purchase once I get this lovely daughter of mine settled in college. Thank you for sharing.

    • Hollie Thomas profile image

      Hollie Thomas 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      Next year! That's what I keep telling myself!

    • Don Bobbitt profile image

      Don Bobbitt 6 years ago from Ruskin Florida

      Yeah, I drooled over them until I finally bit the bullet and got an iPad2. It had enough extras that I took the plunge. And ........ Luv It!

    • Hollie Thomas profile image

      Hollie Thomas 6 years ago from United Kingdom

      I'd love an ipad, but alas, not enough funds!

    • d-richie93 profile image

      d-richie93 6 years ago

      LOL tell her just buy the ipad and then gradually learn the technical stuff

      Visit my hub and tell me what you think

    • Don Bobbitt profile image

      Don Bobbitt 6 years ago from Ruskin Florida

      Thanks Phil for the kind words. I am not sure what RDP is, but I use an App called USB Disk Pro for file transfer between my PC and my iPad. It is excellent for transfers of Word to Pages, Excel to Numbers, etc, as well as the other way. Plus, I now have a new HP printer (eprint capable) so wireless printing is a breeze from almost all of the Apps that my wife and I use. Thanks again.

    • Phil Plasma profile image

      Phil Plasma 6 years ago from Montreal, Quebec

      I'm probably ready, though I'm quite please running Ubuntu on my netbook. I'm pretty sure I can't use RDP to connect to my PC at work with an iPad, so for now, the netbook is my tool of choice. Your idea about it being good for seniors is stellar, however, earning you both a vote-up and an awesome.