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Best iPad Accessories For Seniors

Updated on June 11, 2014

The iPad is a very user friendly and accessible digital device which has proved to be incredibly popular with people from the age of a few months old to seniors citizens in their 90's and everyone in between. Senior citizens represent a growing percentage of iPad users as they themselves, and their families are coming to realize the benefits of iPads for seniors over the more traditional laptop and desktop computers. The versatility of the iPad is what makes it so ideal for the elderly as it offers everything from free video chat with friends and family all over the world to mind stimulating apps like sudoku or thousands of books with the option to change the font size to aid readability at the touch of a button. The iPad also offers incredibly good protections against viruses, malware and the other scumware which litters the internet making it a vastly safer platform for an internet virgin to tread without fear of hackers and scammers preying on them.

All that versatility presents its own challenges for the Apple iPad to meet up to but human ingenuity has provided a plethora of iPad accessories designed to suit the individual needs and requirements of users from all walks of life. The best iPad accessories for senior citizens are those which aid in its accessibility and improve upon its usability for the various issues seniors may have whilst using it. I like to think of the bare iPad you get when you open the box as being literally the foundation upon which you should build in order to create the mobile device of your dreams. That bare iPad looks like it fell from Heaven with its silver back, smooth tapered edges and glossy glass screen but pick it up and use it for a while and you'll start to realize its not practical to leave it naked. For starters, it's almost like they designed it to slip out of your hands as that shiny surface and edge tapering makes it hard to grip. At the very least, everyone, regardless of age, should buy an iPad case of some kind and a screen protector to keep the tablet safe from harm. For the elderly, that case should probably be a shock resistant drop proof case so you'll not have to worry about it getting damaged if grandma dozes off whilst reading one of her favorite bodice ripping tales and it falls to the floor.

The rest of this lens article looks at a variety of different iPad accessories for elderly people to keep the device protected and make it easier and more fun to use for anyone of an advanced age. It's not necessary to buy them all (but do buy a protective case and a screen protector at the very least) but they have all been specifically hands selected based upon their receiving overwhelmingly positive reviews from the owners and with the usefulness for senior citizens in general.

iPad Books For Seniors

Quite possibly the best investment you can make when you buy an iPad for a senior citizen is to pick up an easy to read guide book for using it effectively. Unfortunately, there is no such thing as an iPad manual or guidebook inside the retail packaging of the tablet and whilst most of the basic functions and operations can be figured out without a printed iPad operating manual or manufacturer instructions if you are a little more tech savvy, it isn't going to be quite so easy for those not born into the digital age. One of the best iPad accessories for seniors therefore is a good book which explains in simple terms how to perform the most popular actions with their new tablet computer. There is of course, no substitute for a little hands on instruction by a friend or family member but if there is no one available to spare the time then an iPad instruction book will help a lot in getting used to how to use the device and build confidence in its operation. Even if there is someone who will help you learn how to use an iPad it is still good to have one of these iPad books for seniors on hand as a reference guide or to advance your skills.

The following are some of the best large print iPad books for elderly featuring step by step guides on how to do things like write emails, use Facetime to make free video chat calls to other iPad users, download apps and generally how to use the iPad. They are written in colloquial English rather than the dry technical speak of regular computer books and feature large type to make them more easy to read for older people.

Shock Resistant iPad Holders For Seniors

It's easy to be worried about dropping any tablet computer especially if you already have issues gripping things with your hands. The iPad is designed to look and feel sleek and modern but that shiny metal back and glossy glass front do not exactly make it easy to hold without gripping it pretty tightly. A 'naked' iPad easily slips out of a sweaty hand and that's why most of us opt for a case of some kind. Shockproof iPad cases are designed to offer the maximum protection for your iPad against accidental drops, knocks and general accidents. that's not to say you can start throwing your iPad around the room with gay abandon but rather than if you do happen to drop it, there's a much, much greater chance you aren't going to end up with a cracked screen and a costly repair bill. The following selection features the top rated shock resistant cases for iPad 2 and the new iPad 3.

iPad Screen Protectors

Regular and Anti Glare Screen Protection

A good screen protector for iPad is important for everyone not just seniors. A protective screen cover for iPad 2 or 3 protects the glass from scratches, scuffs and accidental damage which can easily occur if you are not careful. It's easy to accidentally toss your keys on the table and watch them skitter across the screen of the unseen iPad or to unthinkingly do the same with loose change, glasses, and so on. If you drop the iPad tablet then a good shock resistant case will protect your device from catastrophic damage but the screen is still vulnerable to getting scratches and dinged unless you have an iPad screen guard in place. Considering the cost of repair, it's just a smart thing to own.

Anti glare screen protectors are an even better idea because not only do these protect against scratches, scuffs and nicks to the screen but they also add a matte finish which makes the iPad much easier to use in bright environments like under indoor lighting or from the glare of daylight. Why do want this? Well, the iPad 2 and the new iPad 3 with its retina display both come with a beautiful glossy glass screen which, quite frankly, looks awesome on the display shelf. Start using it however, and you'll soon find that shiny screen is very reflective and in brightly lit rooms or in sunlight the glare will make the screen really hard to see. Think of it like one of the glossy TV screens and how we were always drawing a curtain or lowering a blind on a sunny day to block out the sun. The iPad has the same kind of shiny screen but thankfully, there is really simple solution to this in the form of a matte screen protector.

These matte screen guards for iPad 3 and earlier models are literally a thin piece of specially layered plastic sheet which fits directly over the iPad's front screen. They turn a glossy screen in a matte one and will dramatically reduce the amount of glare and reflections coming off the screen. iPad screen protectors are a particularly useful for the elderly and those with macular degeneration and low vision because by reducing the reflected light they make the screen easier to see and reduce the chance of eye strain.

In the olden days (like 3 years ago...that's old in technology terms!) these were a real pain to put on right but the newer types, which are the ones I will list below, are much, much more easy to apply. They are also removable and washable although you shouldn't need to do so as a quick wipe over with a moist cloth will clean them just fine in my experience. Since they are removable if you do make a mistake putting it on in the first place, you get a second chance or the opportunity to get someone else to do it for you. The following selection of iPad anti glare film protectors are all of the anti-glare and removable type.

Get An Ipad Stylus Pen To Make Screen Selection Easier

iPad Stylus Pens For Seniors

One of the things I noticed pretty much immediately with my aunt and her use of the iPad was a slight lack of coordination when in came to actually hitting the icons and buttons on the touch screen. For the most part, the iPad touch screen sensitivity is incredibly accurate but it does have to be used correctly or you are going to get some unpredictable results. In the case of my aunt, her main issue was in 'tapping' the screen. Rather than a short finger stab she was 'smudging' her finger across the screen so it was more tap-slide than a single tap which would more often than not result in the screen attempting to scroll rather than click on the icon. I think the reason for this was a combination of poor coordination simply from lack of experience with this type of technology and poor eyesight which made it harder to hit those smaller icons.

Thankfully, the solution to this was both cheap and simple - we bought her an iPad stylus pen.

iPad styli are great for seniors because they allow a more accurate selection of screen elements without having to worry about that 'smudging' effect. If you, or a friend or your mother or father is finding it hard to operate their tablet in this way then you might find a simple iPad stylus under $10 to be a simple solution with big benefits.

Choosing the right iPad stylus pens for the elderly is a simple matter of picking one which does what you need it to do. There are more specialized stylus pointers which are more suited to other types of activity like a brush stylus for drawing and painting on the screen which are great for art programs but pretty useless for general everyday 'pointing and clicking'. It's worth noting that not all styluses for iPads are made the same either, so whilst you can get very cheap ones it might not provide the same level of comfort and ease of use as a more expensive one. Some can feel too lightweight or have a tip which doesn't last or fails to mimic a fingertip accurately which can make dragging around the screen feel unnatural. The following selection however, are all highly rated by their owners and are worth checking into.

iPad Holders For Seniors

The iPad may feel pretty light when you pick it up and test it out in the store but use it at home for a little while and that 'lightweight' feel and slim, sleek design starts to feel quite a bit more heavy than you expected. It's not so much the weight however, but the strength required to grip the tablet or hold your arms up, or out for any prolonged period of time spent whilst playing, reading etc. Your hands and fingers will start to feel fatigued after a few minutes regardless of your age but it can feel much more pronounced in seniors especially when they already suffer from arthritis and their strength and endurance levels are not what they used to be.

Thankfully, accessory manufacturers leapt into the void Apple left in the market for stands and holders and there are plenty of different options out there which make holding and propping up your iPad a much less fatiguing experience. The best iPad holders for seniors are going to be table mounts, hand straps and lap holders, so we will look at each of those in turn below.

iPad Grips Make It Easier For Seniors To Hold The iPad

One of the more annoying aspects of 10 inch tablets like the Apple iPad is that they can be quite uncomfortable to hold for an extended period of time. Walking around with one means either holding it in both hands or to run the risk of dropping it and despite how sturdy this device is, you still run a very real risk of cracking the screen if you drop it onto a hard surface. iPad straps make it easier to hold the iPad but providing a hand strap at the rear rather than forcing you to grip the device firmly. This type of iPad grip holder makes it easier to hold the device in one hand which not only prevents hand fatigue and leaves one hand free to do other things which can be essential in the elderly for balance etc. but it also makes it less likely the device will accidentally be dropped.

iPad Lap Holders For Seniors

iPad lap stands or pillow rests are ideal for seniors because they remove the need to actually physically hold onto the device at all times. The main issue many of us, not only elderly people, quickly find with any tablet is that despite their light weight they soon start to feel heavy and cumbersome regardless of their small size. The effort required to grip the device can leave your hands feeling tired and fatigued and basically, it's not to have an iPad lap stand because it is just so much more comfortable to use the device hands free. iPad lap holders are ideal for reading an iPad seated on the couch or for use in the bedroom whilst laying down. The following selection of iPad lap cushions are ideal for senior citizens and for the rest of us too.

iPad Table Mounts and Desk Stands

iPad table stands and mounts are used for propping up an iPad on a table or any other flat surface like a desk or kitchen counter. These freestanding mounts are useful for a wide range of different applications. If you are going to contact family on Skype or using Facetime then you will wan to prop up the iPad on a tabletop stand in order to talk to your family. Without an stand for your iPad your camera is going to look shaky, will probably be giving too much of a close up image and will get heavy if you are sitting there holding it. iPad stands are also good for watching movies, reading hands free and or just about any iPad activity where you want to leave your hands free.

Additional Comments, Questions and Suggestions - Please Feel Free To Drop Me A Line Below

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  • profile image

    MelissaHuiQin 4 years ago

    it must be so cool..

    from junior to senior,all playing with ipad..

    Cool parents it must be.

    goes well with all ages.

  • mimarlou profile image

    mimarlou 4 years ago

    we got our parents a tablet and at 82 my dad started doing emails and internet for the first time, it has meant so much for them. We also got them brain exercising apps. Thanks for the tip on the stylus, I think it is a must for the elderly too.

  • KayeSI profile image

    KayeSI 4 years ago

    Hi, Thanks again for an excellent resource. Just wanted to let you know I added a link to this at my new lens - exploring-the-ipad-and-its-apps-with-our-sweet-seniors :)

  • jensgems profile image

    jensgems 4 years ago

    great information, thanks for sharing!

  • Rymom28 profile image

    Rymom28 5 years ago

    When my grandfather got an ipad as a gift, to be honest, I was pretty shocked, as he already is unsure how to use a computer. This lens will help our family know exactly what we should get him next. Thank you!