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Ask Slashdot: Touchscreen Device For the Elderly?

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the please-slide-here dept.

Handhelds 155

Lord Byron II writes "My grandma is in her 80s, is bed-ridden, in a nursing home, and is basically reaching the end of her life. Her legs are weak, meaning that she is confined to her bed, and her hearing is pretty much gone. Her sight is good and her mental facilities are still there, but even so, she spends most of her days just watching daytime TV, like the Price is Right and talk shows. The family has tasked me with finding her an easy-to-use, not overly expensive device that would mentally challenge her. Ideally, I would like to get something iPad like so that she could play card games and such. But the Internet connectivity and advanced features are completely unnecessary. Is there a simple device that will let her easily play some games?"

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Frost Piss?? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37958204)

FROST PISS?!?

that's easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37958210)

kindle fire. iPhone touch.

Re:that's easy (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37958302)

..."iPhone touch"? I'll assume a typo and you meant to write "iPod touch". I think the display is probably too small for his grandma.

Touchscreen? (2, Insightful)

TheRealMindChild (743925) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958214)

Are you sure a touchscreen is what you really want? Have you ever used a touchscreen to play games? Constantly having your arm at attention and moving your hands around blocks screen real estate is a really big minus most people don't consider. Get her a Nintendo hand held.

Re:Touchscreen? (4, Informative)

ZackSchil (560462) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958234)

Hahahaha

This is the worst suggestion since Hitler's painting instructor told him to go into politics.

Re:Touchscreen? (2)

BisexualPuppy (914772) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958430)

He was obviously better at politics than at painting, though.

Re:Touchscreen? (1)

taiwanjohn (103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958632)

+1 for creative skirting of Godwin's law.

Re:Touchscreen? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37959154)

fuck off and die you troll

Re:Touchscreen? (1)

newsdee (629448) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958254)

Seconded. The NDS XL would be easier to grab, see, and use (it comes with a bigger stylus).
And it's cheaper than an iPad...

Re:Touchscreen? (2)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959014)

When people get older they don't just have issues with motor control (stiff fingers, shaky hands, etc.), they also have problems with the feeling in their digits. So not only is it harder to hold and manipulate things because your fingers don't want to move in as controllable a manner as when you are younger, it is harder to feel them. Now at what age that happens is variable, for example I watched Henry Townsend [wikipedia.org] playing guitar and piano, and he was in his mid 90s, and he played almost to the day of his death. But not everyone is so lucky and unfortunately the OP says his grandma is losing much of her physical faculties (my sympathies after witnessing my mother finally losing to age recently). So anything requiring holding a stylus or pushing the smaller buttons on these devices is a bad choice. Even using a mouse is likely problematic, so a stylus which requires even more motor skills is probably just wrong.

A bigger screen and being able to push things around with your finger is better. Even if they can't feel the tips of their fingers so well, if their vision is still good, older people can still see if they are able to move things around the screen. And it might be enough mental and motor skill exercise to help her keep more motor skill and mental skill ability and possibly improve a bit. Use it or lose it. My mom ended up with macular degeneration of a type that isn't so treatable with the new injections that are available. It's doubly tough when not only your motor skills start to go, but you can't see much either. So being able to see is a bonus for his grandma.

Good luck with the project. But why not an iPad or other tablet? What is the issue with internet? Just don't allow the WiFi connection if you don't want it.

One other suggestion: maybe find some sort of mount if she is in a bed that can be pushed around in front of her like a monitor desk arm so she won't drop it, and can move it out of the way if she wants.

Re:Touchscreen? (1)

obarthelemy (160321) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959298)

I'd second that. A big tablet (10") is only part of the answer. As important, as usual, are the ergonomics peripherals: a "bed" table, and a holder so that so doesn't have to hold the device, and it's at a comfortable angle for viewning and touching.
I'd go with a iPhone, probably Gen1, just to be sure to have lots support and software. Preloaded with music and films and pictures of her family, too.

Re:Touchscreen? (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959668)

a "bed" table

Ever use one of those?

She's probably better off with a really big light-weight pillow to rest it on (assuming no ventilation or heat build-up issues).

Re:Touchscreen? (1)

jordanjay29 (1298951) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958546)

Somehow I doubt an 80-year-old woman has the manual dexterity to operate the buttons on a handheld Nintendo unit.

Re:Touchscreen? (1)

JoeMerchant (803320) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959094)

80 years old - dry skin? Are you sure that a capacitive touch screen will work as well for her as it does for you? Might want to try one out before committing.

Re:Touchscreen? (2)

MisterSquid (231834) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959908)

Have you ever used a touchscreen to play games? Constantly having your arm at attention and moving your hands around blocks screen real estate is a really big minus most people don't consider.

Have you ever used a touch-enabled device to play CARD GAMES? Touch-based devices offer more intuitive and easier-to-hit targets than the abstracted controls of something like a Nintendo hand held. Incidentally (not really), there is much anecdotal evidence that elderly people [businessweek.com] do very well [nwsource.com] with iPads [lawmed.com] . In some cases, iPads can also be used as an assistive device [wfu.edu] .

Regarding cost, iPads are right around $500. That's really not much for a device that may dramatically improve an elderly woman's quality of life. An iPad potentially be a more useful device than a Nintendo hand held, which I'm guessing would be disregarded after a few uses.

iPad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37958218)

Get her a used iPad 1, it should be cheap.

Internet connectivity? (1)

safetyinnumbers (1770570) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958228)

I don't think that you'll find many tablet devices without wifi, so I don't know why you're discounting the iPad because of that,.

You should probably consider size as one of the main factors, along with ease of use. A big screen is pretty important when you get far-sighted with age.

Why no internet (2)

MrMickS (568778) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958248)

Why wouldn't you want your Grandma to be able to access the internet? If she's still got it mentally then easy access to the internet might be good. My mother, in her 70's uses her iPad to access the Internet everyday.

Re:Why no internet (1)

rajohn (73702) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958300)

Dude! Give Granny the NET for Chris Sake!!!

Re:Why no internet (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958636)

Why wouldn't you want your Grandma to be able to access the internet?

The internet is a stepping stone to harder drugs... such Netflix and Facebook.

Re:Why no internet (3, Interesting)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958724)

This.

With an iPad or even an Android tablet you can install newspaper applications, for example. She probably read those when she could and giving her simple, immediately she turns it on or hits the home button access to the next days paper can be really one of the best forms of mental stimulation.

Find four apps that she likes from her past (a family blog with recent photos would be ideal). Put them on the front page so she immediately gets to something she likes. Set her up simple email, make sure she doesn't have a high limit (low limit is fine) credit card or bank account number handy and let her loose. We've had very little problem with a 90 year old and a laptop (though she started around 80). I don't see how an iPad could possibly be more of a problem

Just one comment. Beware that touch devices may need extra fine motor skills. You may find that a laptop with a large keyboard is actually more suitable than an iPad, depending on how much control she has over her fingers. Also keyboard skills may be a good investment for when eyesight begins to go.

Get an iPad (5, Informative)

Cosmic Debris (650504) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958270)

My father (now 83) got the original iPad literally the day it came out. Yes, it was expensive but he's really loved it. He plays online games with my sister, nieces and nephews. We set him up to stay logged on to facebook to get the latest grandbaby pictures from my nephew's wife. My brother taught him to buy ebooks, too. He loves to read and is an inveterate insomniac so this alone was worth it. Now if he can't sleep and nobody is awake to play Scrabble, he can download a new book that catches his interest.

He has a computer (old G5 Mac tower) but rarely uses it now since the iPad can be used virtually anywhere in his home.

It's also reduced the number of "how to" and troubleshooting calls we get from him. For an 83-YO former pastor he does pretty good technically and recently figured out how to properly install the OS/X drivers on his G5 for a scanner/printer on his own.

Short answer: by all means get an iPad. It has the richest set of games and social media connections. My $.02.

Re:Get an iPad (0)

gabereiser (1662967) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958296)

exactly, if you want something "iPad like".... just get an iPad...

Re:Get an iPad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37958382)

The subtext is that he's a cheapskate, his grandmother is going to die soon, and he doesn't want to buy her an iPad he's not sure he'll inherit back.

Re:Get an iPad (1)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958754)

The subtext is that he's a cheapskate, his grandmother is going to die soon, and he doesn't want to buy her an iPad he's not sure he'll inherit back.

Even if this is true he doesn't have to bloody give it. It can be a long term loan. Then there's no question of inheritance.

Re:Get an iPad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37958298)

this++

Re:Get an iPad (1)

lynnae (2439544) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958316)

My mother did the same and still loves her iPad.

However there are considerations that need to be made, especially the ergonomics issues that have been posted.
And also, a iPad requires either an internet connection, or a computer to connect it to (with an internet connection). I'm not sure if a computer running iTunes is required to do a first time boot with the new iPad/iOS anymore, but you do need one in order to update it. The OP said an internet connection was unnecessary, but it would still need to exist to use an iPad, and possibly a computer as well.

I don't know if iTunes requires a debit/credit card either, that could be an issue with someone who's quite elderly.

OP, is there any way you can borrow an iPad and see if it's feasible to your grandmother?

Re:Get an iPad (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37958338)

iOS 5 can update without a PC being connected to it.

Re:Get an iPad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37958340)

Computer & iTunes are no longer required for anything at all with an iPad.

You can get it set up at the store when you buy it, and updates are now over the air as well.

Grandma needs an iPad, and nothing else.

Re:Get an iPad (1)

rwa2 (4391) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958356)

Yeah, as much as I'd like to recommend an Android device, just go with a 1st Gen iPad. Any kind of touchscreen is going to be challenging for her to use, and I don't think she'd really use it much anyway. But at least this way you won't have to put up with all your family blaming you for getting something that was "too complicated for grandma".

Load it up with family photo albums and videos, and maybe some audio books / audio messages from the family that she might like to keep her company.

As for internet, I think she would really appreciate outside contact with some of the multi-player games, though, like WordFeud or some of the other things that might give her some human contact when you guys aren't visiting. Should be able to set up some of those turn-based games so she can play with family members.

Even if she ends up not using the device, this should at least win you some brownie points with your family for ingenuity :-P

Re:Get an iPad (1)

Patch86 (1465427) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958454)

Although to be fair, you can do all of those things with the latest Android tablets too. And I fear answering the question "which tablet should I get for my elderly relative" with "any of the best selling tablets" might be less helpful.

I wonder idly at the OPs "not too expensive" comment. An iPad is far from cheap (and all the other high-end tablets are no better). I mean you can get a Dell Streak or BlackBerry Playbook for not very much, but I doubt anyone would recommend it.

One slightly different suggestion might be to go with a Kindle or a Nook. Both are dirt cheap compared to other tablets, both are very easy to use, and (aside from the obvious reading content), both the Kindle and the Nook Colour have games and other apps. A Kindle is only $139, and the Nook Colour is only $249 (I don't think the basic Nook has "app" content).
http://www.amazon.com/gp/search?ie=UTF8&keywords=kindle%20games&tag=kindlegames-20&index=digital-text&linkCode=ur2&camp=1789&creative=9325 [amazon.com]
http://www.barnesandnoble.com/u/nookcolor-apps/379002750 [barnesandnoble.com]

Re:Get an iPad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37959804)

a basic kindle is now $79 and a fire is only $199.

Re:Get an iPad (2)

Kagetsuki (1620613) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958610)

As much as I dislike Apple products myself you have outlined a situation I wholly believe no device could better fill than the iPad and given detailed evidence as to why. Somebody mod Cosmic Debris up!

Re:Get an iPad (3, Interesting)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958704)

I gave my parents a phone designed for the elderly because they could not use their normal cell phone. They are unable to use the new one as well.

Getting money out of a machine is a struggle for them.

They are not stupid. They are just afraid of technology, I think.

So when they want to call me they use the landline. When they want to get money, they go to the bank and when they want to know something, they go to the pub and ask somebody else to look it up for them. As they live in Spain and speak Spanish there is no issue.

I think it is more important to have the social interaction with people around them then it is to sit in front of a screen and see me who lives in another country.

Or as others might say: don't look for a technical solution for a social problem.

Re:Get an iPad (2)

Whatchamacallit (21721) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958712)

Just get her a refurbished original iPad. But don't be surprised if the nursing home has WiFi, most do lately. If no WiFi load up the Photo app with a ton of family photos. Scan in some old photo albums too.

Just Google iPad + Elderly:
http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/thinking-tech/ipad-opens-digital-doors-for-the-elderly/3674
http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/health/2016410946_srpad07.html
http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/10_34/b4192039623670.htm
http://www.unplggd.com/unplggd/look/a-simple-ipad-guide-for-the-elderly-125315

Re:Get an iPad (2)

Sloppy (14984) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958912)

Don't listen to this emacs pimp. Teach your grandmother to use vim!

Re:Get an iPad (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37959270)

*fixd My $600.

Re:Get an iPad (1)

WalrusSlayer (883300) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959786)

Exactly. Or the shorter version: Get an iPad. Duh.

And as others have pointed out, skipping out on Internet is silly---she will get a huge benefit by being connected. eBooks, video calls, multi-player games, news, etc. If the nursing home has Wifi, then there ya go. If not, get the 3G model and have the family chip in the measly $15/mo to keep it on a basic data plan.

Ever heard of an ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37958274)

iPad?

Go visit her (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37958310)

Sure, give your gadget idea a try, and maybe she will get a kick out of it, maybe not. But regardless, go visit her. If you have kids, bring them along. Talk about the stuff you [and your kids] are into. Take her on outings as she's able and the weather is suitable (will need to take along the wheelchair and/or walker). If you don't live close by, call her on the phone regularly. If it seems like you have almost nothing in common, at least eat a meal with her. Everybody likes to eat.

Don't let your parent or grandparent rot in a nursing home, abandoned by their own family. This may not apply to the OP, but I bet it applies to some of the people reading this.

Re:Go visit her (1)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958394)

Don't let your parent or grandparent rot in a nursing home, abandoned by their own family. This may not apply to the OP, but I bet it applies to some of the people reading this.

This. I bet all the gadgets in the world don't mean nearly as much as a visit from loved ones...

Nintendo DSi XL - It was made for her. (2, Informative)

Qbertino (265505) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958324)

The Nintendo DSi XL is comparetively cheap, has awsome games that the elderly love (such as the Professor Layton series) and it was built with old-timers in mind. Big screen, modest colors, large pen-like extra stylus and absolut idiot-proof usage. Get her one plus one or two Layton titles and some other slow or non-action puzzle game. ... Most likely she'll ask for more sooner than you'll expect.

And who knows, maybe she'll also be kicking your sorry ass at MarioCart in 2 months aswell. :-)

Re:Nintendo DSi XL - It was made for her. (1)

HalAtWork (926717) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959444)

Other good titles would be Hotel Dusk, Peggle Dual Shot, Word Jong, Scrabble, Puzzle Quest, Quest Trio (matching game, Mahjongg, Solitaire), Big Brain Academy/Brain Age, maybe even Dragon Quest (doesn't matter which one, as long as it's the mainline series), or Harvest Moon or Animal Crossing. Too bad Picross DS is out of print... Picross 3D is alright and might still be available, but the 2D one was really great...

Probably not the right solution (1)

echusarcana (832151) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958342)

I don't think any touchscreen device is going to suit your needs. The first poster is quite right. All tablets are designed as internet devices and they don't have much functionality offline. I'd suggest a cheap laptop running Ubuntu. I've set very elderly senior citizens up with this before and they immediately understood it - far better than the alternatives. The selection of casual games is probably the best mix for what you need as well.

Internet - Skype (1)

RichMan (8097) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958350)

Don't underestimate the power of Skype in connecting to family around the world. Ipad does video. Really nice for the grandkids to chat and wave to grandma. Or make contact with long unseen relatives.

My mom has problems with the touch sensitivity. Her hand shakes and often when holding the edges fingers will slip to the touch part causing unwanted actions. Added Iballz and a case and still somewhat problematic.

Why are you so damn cheap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37958370)

She's dying! She spent your entire life making you cookies and buying you clothes and trying to cheap out with some BS device without even the internet?? Splurge cheapass! You're going to regret being so cheap if she passes away lamenting the lack of access to google.

Wrong approach (5, Insightful)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958390)

but even so, she spends most of her days just watching daytime TV, like the Price is Right and talk shows. The family has tasked me with finding her an easy-to-use, not overly expensive device that would mentally challenge her

Try watching something WITH her instead. Or, since her eyesight is still good, playing cards or something else that is not physically demanding, and allows for both mental stimulation and social interaction. There's a reason you see all those old folks playing bridge or bingo or dominoes, and it's not because of the games themselves. (get one of those 12 or 15-pip domino sets and give it a whirl - everyone from 9 to 90 can enjoy it).

Re:Wrong approach (1)

mjr167 (2477430) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958486)

But that would require time and effort. It's much easier to throw money at buying shinies. In all honesty though, I'm sure he visits his grandma regularly like a good grandson and is just trying to get her something for when he is at work, etc. You can't visit grandma every second of every day.

The real question is why he doesn't think she needs the internet? You can play bridge and Kanasta on the internet with other people and have way more fun than playing solitaire.

Re:Wrong approach (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37958534)

Try watching something WITH her instead.

Best advice you are going to get is spending time with her physically. Besides she won't be around for long so use your time with her wisely.
That all said the question was for technical advice. My mom recently died of MS and was bed ridden for many years, she would tear through laptops like you wouldn't believe but it kept her in touch with the world like you wouldn't believe (why I also have to question the no internet clause). You really never could tell which type she'd like best, my dad would buy 2 or three a year sometimes, one for him and her and she'd end up liking his better for some odd explainable reason and it was never apparent why till you annoyed it out of her. Usually it was a button or something was harder to use or it didn't sit well in her lap in bed.

So my advice is borrow a friends iPad, borrow a laptop or any other device you can. Watch her use it and see if she likes it and is comfortable. A nice lap tray table and some quality time using it with her and you should be good to go. I'm going to guess however a simple laptop maybe with a touch screen is probably the best idea because it will prop itself up and older people have trouble with precise motor movement. Hell I can't even hold my galaxy tab after a few drinks for too long without shaking.

Re:Wrong approach (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37958536)

I'd agree with that, in general, but maybe not in specific, depending on her situation.

In general, my thoughts are:

      #1) Visit with her. Often.
      #2) Tell her about what's going on in your life and in your kids' lives. Women tend to live until their grandkids have kids, so there is a strong genetic interest in family there. Pass her advice back to the kids ("Granmy says...")

If she has good muscular control...
      #3) Start with common games, but work up to more demanding games: strategy board games. Some good ones include
                                  Settlers of Catan
                                  San Juan
                                  Robo Rally
                                  Chess
      #4) Get a crossword book, a Soduko book, and a few other puzzle books, and send her a letter every week with one of each. Photocopy them, so the page size will be correct, but mark them off as "already sent".

If she has poor muscular control ...
      #5) Set up a computer with dasher and a ball, and let it tie to the phone system, so that she can use the computer to make calls. Ideally, it would be great to mimic smart phones. Then she can also tie into forums and email with the family.

      #6) Get her tied into some of these websites for genaeological research. She might enjoy entering all the data that she knows.

Re:Logistics... (1)

taiwanjohn (103839) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958868)

> #1) Visit with her. Often.

Yes, assuming it's physically possible -- the OP could be hundreds or even thousands of miles away. Nothing beats in-person interaction. But if her eyesight is still good, then electronic means can be a great substitute. As long as she can see you, that will be enough, even if she can't hear very well.

My grandma lived to 102, and although her hearing started to go in her 80's, she could still read and do crosswords into her late 90's. (She was a huge fan of Wheel Of Fortune.;-) Around 99 or so, macular degeneration took her sight, and only then did she start to deteriorate mentally. With no eyes or ears, she was basically in her own little world, but she would quickly snap into the here-and-now when people came to visit. Still, it was difficult to communicate... difficult to do most things... Around that time she decided she was ready to "go" and switched to hospice care, going off all her meds except pain killers. (She lasted for nearly 3 years after that.)

I wish we'd had iPads back then. I'm sure Grandma would have loved it.

> #6) Get her tied into some of these websites for genaeological research.

Excellent idea!

Re:Logistics... (1)

jones_supa (887896) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959964)

Yes, assuming it's physically possible -- the OP could be hundreds or even thousands of miles away. Nothing beats in-person interaction.

The FaceTime feature of the iPad would be nice for that kind of situation.

Suggestion (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37958442)

The family has tasked me with finding her an easy-to-use, not overly expensive device that would mentally challenge her. Ideally, I would like to get something iPad like so that she could play card games and such.

Easy to use, inexpensive, mentally challenging example activity being playing card games.

Hmmm... I'm thinking a deck of playing cards. Big cards if her eyesite is poor. Also maybe a big book of card games for extra challenges. Do I win?

Touchscreen for the elderly (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37958450)

This is a good question indeed. I'm a developer working with the Nursing Home Ministry (www.nhmhope.org) and this is one of the main pain points that I brought to their attention when we first started. So, I'd be interested in hearing about what you find. If we can't find something, then we may build something ourselves.

ipad 1 wifi ebay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37958456)

This is what the ipad was made for.

Viewsonic G Tablet (1)

transami (202700) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958478)

http://reviews.cnet.com/tablets/viewsonic-g-tablet/4505-3126_7-34431221.html?tag=subnav

wrong about connectivity? (2)

sribe (304414) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958492)

Internet connectivity would give her access to far more mental stimulation than a few games, plus potential social interaction as well.

Re:wrong about connectivity? (1)

clockt (882520) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958694)

Internet connectivity would give her access to far more mental stimulation than a few games, plus potential social interaction as well.

Absolutely. We're just going to bury one of ours this week, pegged out at 91. She wasn't great technically but email was her great passion for the last couple of years, and when her computer broke (Old PC running XP and outlook express, so it was regularly falling over) she got pretty grumpy and we'd run around and fix it. - and no, I am not suggesting you give your aged dear ones computers that are shit so they get to see you more often; neither you nor they will be seeing the bright side of that sort of social interaction. Give them good tools that get out of their way and maybe they'll leave you it in the will :)

Mum's in her eighties and we bought her an iPad last year. She loves it. Sure, she sometimes swipes or pokes the wrong thing, but there's a button on it (home button) that solves all those problems. Just start over, no big deal. But she's in charge, and that's independence and self determination and dignity right there.

iPad and Google Street View are also a great match for immigrant families with time on their hands and stories to tell.

As a terminal Cancer patient, I don't think... (5, Insightful)

monomania (595068) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958522)

...I don't think you should undersell Internet connectivity. Although fortunately I am not confined to bed 24/7, I spend more than half the day there, and Netflix streaming (which would be a wonderful gift you could frurnish her) is a savior; given the paucity of her programming now it would undoubtedly improve her day, and she would have some control over her entertainment choices. That and a twitter client (and set up the family on Twitter -- those that aren't already) and the family can stay engaged with her; an iPad or Android device with WiFi and a camera a can give her even more interactivity over Facetime or Skype.

You have an opportunity here to improve her daily life to an incredible degree, and obviously want to. Were it myself I'd even obtain here a Mi-Fi device and account if there was little or no Wi-Fi were she is living. Were it my own Grandmother I would not by skimping here.

Wii (3, Interesting)

Yakasha (42321) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958548)

As has been mentioned before, be careful about ergonomics. Holding an iPad (or similar device) while confined to a bed can produce neck pain (if you hold it in your lap and look down) or arm fatigue (if you try to hold it up to avoid the neck pain).

My recommendation would be a wii, which I believe has already been successfully used in a few nursing homes. I think it would be even more successful for individual cases like this.

  • Cheap - under $200 for a full setup
  • Light, easy to use controllers
  • Her vision is up to snuff, so menus are not a problem
  • non-HD hookups, meaning better chance of connecting to older hospital/nursing home/fixed income tvs
  • exercise apps to improve health
  • chat apps to talk to the grand kids
  • Something for the kids to do while you visit grandma
  • netflix, for even more tv options!

Re:Wii (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37959696)

Have you ever seen an elderly person try to control a Wii? My 50 year old parents find it tricky enough, let alone my grandparents. I think tablets are nothing more than big expensive toys, by and large, but this the perfect application for one.

Re:Wii (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37959820)

As much as I love it, I'm going to disagree with a Wii. Sure for more mobile folks fine but if she's bedridden then that is going to not be too optimal, esp depending on the size of screen, turning it off and on, inserting games, etc, too confusing for older people and you only get one game at a time. A simple iPad (even gen 1) loaded with games and possibly netflix will go a long way, esp with some simple instruction.

The internet requirement (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37958574)

Simply don't setup the internet... Simply setup internet to install whatever programs you think she like. Afterwards, either clear the settings if it done at the nursing home (assuming they even have wifi) or not set it up there. Most touch screens are still will be a somewhat advance devices (compared to simple ones) and in which case would include wifi since it's such a cheap addon. But just cause it has it, doesn't mean you have to use it... As for an actual device, there are plenty of tablets on the market. Pick one ranging from ipad to something even like the kindle fire. At a one time purchase, even $500 isn't that expensive, though $200 should definitely be affordable.

Remember, touch screens are still expensive compared to normal screens, and at a sufficiently large size to use touch, the cost of wifi is but a few % of it at best (meaning it doesn't affect the final price much) much less the cpu required to process the touch.

If she needs a challenge (1)

countertrolling (1585477) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958586)

You should at least have her watch Jeopardy instead of the Price is Right... And yes, the talk shows will make you dumber. She definitely would be better off with Y&R, and General Hospital...

Can she read? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37958590)

The family has tasked me with finding her an easy-to-use, not overly expensive device that would mentally challenge her.

How about a good book? They can be a darn sight more challenging than Angry Birds.

Why No Internet? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37958598)

Why no internet? If you don't give her internet, or some way to get outside her room, you might as well just leave her watching TV. You think the 800th time she plays the limited number of games she's got is going to be "intellectually stimulating"?

Teach her how to use the web. How to send email or text messages. Let her interact with the world.

Sony Android Tablet (1)

stephanruby (542433) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958600)

The Sony Android Honeycomb tablet. Laid down on a table, its screen is still slightly inclined. It doubles nicely as a remote control (which it is what Sony optimized it for). It's 9" inch screen makes it slightly smaller than the iPad or the Samsung 10.1 Tab, but it weighs less than the iPad and weighs about the same as the Samsung tab (but still feels nicer in your hands than the Tab).

Like most slightly more expensive tablets, it has good haptic feedback. Do not skimp on that, especially for the hard of hearing. And if you do get an Android tablet, do get an Honeycomb one, it's way easier to use than any Android 2.x tablets, and just looks better. Just be sure to read the amazon customer reviews of any tablet you get her. She may not need wifi at her nursing home, but with wifi it will be a lot easier for you or your other relatives to load up new games that she'll like. And expect that you will be doing that frequently, until you figure out their tastes.
 

simple (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37958602)

Yes, there is a simple device: iPad.

Silly question!

Does she like to read? (1)

curunir (98273) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958650)

Games aren't the only thing that will mentally challenge someone...hell, most iPad games don't.

If you want an inexpensive tablet-format device that will mentally challenge her, get a Kindle or a Nook. They're great for elderly people because they allow the font to be increased for easy viewing. And with the tight integration with Amazon/B&N, she wouldn't have to get out of bed to order new books. The Kindle even has some pretty fun games, though the eInk screen makes the interface crap (Nook might have them to...I don't own one, so I can't say.)

Best of all, it fits in the "cheap" category coming in at roughly 1/5 the price of the cheapest iPad. And it they need charging so infrequently, you could do it whenever you visit so that she doesn't have to worry about doing it herself.

Elderly... (0)

zAPPzAPP (1207370) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958672)

I hope I never become one of the elderly.
I want to be old, aged, a mummy whatever. That is ok.
But those elderly are the worst. Always using those clunky low spec gadgets no one else would touch. Not cool.

Get her a wifi ipad, a good case and a stylus (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37958710)

Get a case that will prop the unit at several angles for comfort.
I like Roo cases at about $26 they slao offer some padding for drop protection.
http://www.amazon.com/rooCASE-Convertible-Premium-Adjustable-Function/dp/B004S4AEFK/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1320510995&sr=8-1

There are lots of free games, books and the internet if she has wifi access. That beats daytime tv for entertainment AND will allow her to pursue interests and keep her mind sharp.

At the school district where I work in IT we just did a 2200 ipad deployment to students and staff. There are some support requirements but both kids and adults figure out their own workflow to use the iPads pretty quickly and the questions rapidly taper off.

Adaptive devices for the elderly (2)

Joiseybill (788712) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958792)

This general question has been a part-time quest of my own. I cared for a loved blind grandmother for several years, and realize my own fragility. There are a lot of agencies out there, and support groups / not-for-profit orgs working on different areas. Many of these are slowly starving because of the economy ( less subsidy, less generous donors) - but still around and happy to help.

In the big picture, just keep in mind that I found help and helpful advise just by reading/trolling on Multiple Sclerosis, Alzheimers, and other orgs - in addition to the " Senior Services" and various blind orgs. ( props to LightHouse!)

In the short term, if you can afford an iPad, why are you concerned about 'extra' stuff? Believe me, I've been on the neutral-evil side when it comes to Apple fanaticism, but the iPad is in my home. For the set of purposes you laid out, this is probably one of the lightest, easiest to use devices.
Borrow (or buy) one, and some bluetooth devices ( mouse, keyboard, trackball, drawing pad) that can work with it.
      -- my purchase came from (USA) Target, with a 45-day no questions refund policy.
        (plus a 10% discount for accepting their credit card)

  I just mean, if you want something "like the iPad", then get the iPad. Android devices have many similar abilities, (and WebOS devices, too) but few have the quality screen, battery life, and natural resistance to tampering that is genetic to the Apple family.
By all means - get what you can afford, and what is useful - not a dust collector.

And yes.. as other folks have suggested, there is nothing .. **NOTHING** that is more fulfilling, mentally stimulating, and emotionally positive than loved company. The basic stuff like reading a book together, reminiscing, or even learning to use two iPads (or Androids, or tablet PCs) to play scrabble, yahtzee, bingo, or whatever.. as long as you do it together, is a lot more fun and fulfilling.
Plus it will help Grandma learn if she knows you are coming back to play or video chat to see that new baby in the family.

Caveat: get the service contract, and take photos of the serial numbers. Use tracking software. Even in a "good" place, lots of stuff gets misplaced/lost/stolen in retirement/rehab homes. If Grandma does actually like the device, then losing it to a crash or light-fingered help will be depressing.

Alex! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37958804)

There is a small UK based company http://www.welcometoalex.com/ [welcometoalex.com] who sells a laptop which is aimed specifically at new users, such as your Grandma, it was covered by the BBC http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8522952.stm [bbc.co.uk] and here on Slashdot http://linux.slashdot.org/story/10/02/19/1452240/new-linux-based-laptop-for-computer-newbies [slashdot.org] when it was launched

I have played with some of the competitors e.g. Eldy / Simplicity but I found that software very basic and frankly patronising. It was easy to find your way through the first time but there were far too many steps to complete every task once you know what you wanted to do, Alex was by contrast both easy to use and functional.

GET AN IPAD. End of discussion. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37958876)

There are scores of examples of elderly people responding to iPads in an extremely positive manner. You don't have to have any training to use it, and it does pretty much anything you'd like it to do. You can load it with videos that will be more engaging than daytime TV, basic card games, and if there's wifi present you might be able to teach her to use facetime and "visit" more easily which I'm sure she'll appreciate.

iPad for the eldery (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37958880)

My mom is around 80 years old. she has an iPad and as soon she understood how to use it, she started to play some games, even angry birds! She is happy. Less tv, more fun for her even she can walk and move everywhere. I think an iPad is the best gift a son can give to his mom.

Manuel López (México)

Does she like to read? (1)

jjh37997 (456473) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958888)

How about a bunch of her favorite books? Her eyesight is fine and its interface is one she is familiar with.

premature optimization (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37958898)

of an ipad's cost, half is apple profit. of the remaining, about 1/3 is the screen, then battery, then cpu. the features you're looking to dump add up to maybe $10 (cameras, accelerometers, wifi) - just about insiginificant. in other words, just get a tablet and be happy. since she's not already an applehead, don't waste that $300 off the top. a kobo, fire, nook, samsung, etc will be fine. though probably 10" would be appreciated.

Why? (1)

Reservoir Penguin (611789) | more than 2 years ago | (#37958944)

If you grandmother is really approaching the end of the journey, should not she be concerned with other things other than playing with an iPad? Like praying and saving her immortal soul? Do you think SJ played with an iPad on his deathbed? Get whatever time is needed off work, get the family together, make sure she get's daily visits from a pastor. The most important thing right now is to make peace with God and family.

Re:Why? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37959046)

Not everyone is so religious. If anything, most american only do religion as a pastime. If she was, then I doubt this topic would have come into view in the first place. As for time spending with love ones, it's definitely good to have but there are limits to this. End of journey can mean more then a decade sometimes in weaken condition. Family simply isn't gonna be there all the time as it isn't practical. For those times, things to do that mentally engages her is a good thing. Basically, at this point, the main focus should be increasing her quality of life. Entertainment is one form of that.

Re:Why? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37959050)

Nice comment great input +10 internets you fucking whack job. Let's judge some dying people sounds good

No. Jobs was busy with the iPhone 5. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37959280)

I'm not kidding either. Do a Google search, the reporting is that up until the week of his death, Jobs was busy with next year's iPhone. In fact, he had very little to do with the iPhone 4S.

Look, even if the grandmother subscribes to a similar belief system as you, you've got to admit that a pastor can't be there every minute of the day, every day for an unknown number of days. He's trying to find something that will help her limit the amount of sheer boredom that can infect a person when they're bedridden. I know a thing or two about this, perhaps no where near death bed status, but certainly bedridden and bored for days on end. Boredom is more powerful and more hellish than most folks realize.

She may still have weeks or months or even a year or two ahead of her. This gives her another way to entertain herself and to be quite frank, there isn't anything wrong with that.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37959556)

If you grandmother is really approaching the end of the journey, should not she be concerned with other things other than playing with an iPad? Like praying and saving her immortal soul? Do you think SJ played with an iPad on his deathbed? Get whatever time is needed off work, get the family together, make sure she get's daily visits from a pastor. The most important thing right now is to make peace with God and family.

I'll tell you why, crazy bible guy, he really wants an ipad for himself. To make this purchase happen, he's getting it under the guise of helping his old grandma. Now, he knows grandmas on her last legs, so he'll be there to pick up the device when the end comes.
May god have mercy on his soul........ :)

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37959650)

If she care.. I will cremate my father and spread his ashes in the mountains. Hope he will enjoy more nice ladies before that time. It looks promising.

My old guy worked 15 years or so in a church. Someone needed to help the drunk priest out. Both the priest and my father is religious, but in their own ways. My father relations with God is something between him and God.

Re:Why? (1)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959968)

Don't presume Granny shares YOUR superstition. There are others, as well as "none of the above".

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37959990)

If you grandmother is really approaching the end of the journey, should not she be concerned with other things other than playing with an iPad? Like praying and saving her immortal soul? Do you think SJ played with an iPad on his deathbed? Get whatever time is needed off work, get the family together, make sure she get's daily visits from a pastor. The most important thing right now is to make peace with God and family.

Not sure if trolling or just stupid.

Actually, I'm pretty sure you're trolling, but if you aren't:

She absolutely should be having some fun while she's got time left to have it. Fuck this notion that the end of life should be dominated by prayer. You are a poster child for how religion corrupts and dehumanizes. You actually believe it would be a positive thing for this woman's final days to be ruled by the terror that she's failed to remember and atone for every "sin", frantically begging for forgiveness lest an obscene sadist of a deity condemn her to eternal torture. Fuck that. That shit is nonsense. Eternal torture for finite sin. How does that fit with the idea of a just, loving god? Let me answer that for you: it doesn't.

And fuck your assumption that she's got anything to "make peace" over. For all you know, she was a wonderful person with nothing to apologize for, even in the context of a fucked up religion with ridiculous ideas about what constitutes a sin worthy of infinite punishment.

Also, death doesn't occur on a schedule unless you whip out a gun and pull the trigger. If she's healthy enough to get something out of playing games on a touchscreen device, she's probably not on the edge of death and may live for months or years to come. The family of someone who's moderately but not imminently close to death can't drop everything indefinitely. Nor would she want them to, if she loves them. So fuck yeah it's a good idea to give her something which can not only entertain, but also provide real mental stimulation (access to the Internet, and a giant library of books and videos on a staggering range of topics). No matter how dutiful you are, you can't fill every hour, and something she can use to occupy her mind would be a great gift.

It is far better to go out still expanding your mind's horizons than chanting meaningless prayers in fear. If you believe in a god, do you really think god would be happier if you choose to spend your final days begging for forgiveness instead of using the greatest gift god gave you, the human mind? If that god is really all powerful and all knowing, it would know if you are genuinely contrite regardless of how much time you spend debasing yourself. (For that matter, in what way does it make any kind of sense that you have to "make peace" with god while you're still alive? Wouldn't there literally be an infinite amount of time to talk things over after you've died, when you can actually ask questions and get answers?)

It's Not the Device . . . (1)

NicknamesAreStupid (1040118) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959018)

. . . it's what's on it. Get Skype or Google Hangout or MSN Messenger or whatever gets her family's faces in front of her, and visa versa. She'd much rather see you than Bob Barker.

You're not looking for an alternative. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37959066)

You're looking to be cheap and feel better for it. Just get an iPad. Good heavens man.

Something challenging? (1)

Evtim (1022085) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959124)

The device must have Wifi and you make her a /. account. Trying to figure out what the hell is going on here is a challenge for many nerds; it should do for our beloved grannies as well!

One of the hardest things I ever had to do was explaining to my granny the reasons for the existence and more importantly, the meaning, of the film Alien 2 which she dutifully watched with me during family gathering. Since we are talking about farmer-granny, who worked 12-14 hours a day all her life, was young woman during WW2, had black and white TV until the end and lived 90% of her life under communist regime, it was very challenging for both of us!

E-reader (1)

mmmmbeer (107215) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959128)

Get her any e-reader. Something like a first-gen Nook would be perfect. It would give her lots to read and access to other apps; it's fairly cheap, so it won't be a big deal when it gets stolen (which it will); and the battery life is great.

Oh great, it's 2011 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37959168)

And instead of anti-aging technology we have touchscreens. Oh brave new world that has such lack of technology in it.

why limit (2)

Tom (822) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959178)

Why do you decide what's necessary? How about either asking her, or leaving it in and if it isn't used then it isn't used.

It's not like tablets without Internet would be much cheaper. And when you think tablets already, I think the iPad is what you want. You can pick up a 1st gen device fairly cheaply these days. It's easy to use, you can use parental controls to make sure she doesn't mess anything up that would require you coming over to fix it, and there's lots and lots of apps available.

It's not all about function, UI matters! :) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#37959182)

See: http://store.apple.com/us/browse/home/specialdeals/ipad

A refurbished first generation iPad would save $100. A refurbished iPad 2 would save $50.

Face it, iOS is best suited to the task thanks to Apple's UI prowess. It isn't enough to have a home screen with icons, there is so much more to the device than that. There are more applications for the iPad than any other tablet. You'll stand a better chance of finding things that appeal to her.

I agree with others too. Don't undersell Internet connectivity. If they have WiFi where she is, streaming from Netflix ($7.99/month) would give her unlimited access to a LOT of movies and television shows she grew up with. If you get her an iPad 2 and anyone else in her family has an iPad 2, recent iPod Touch, iPhone 4 or 4S or Mac, they'll be able to do video chats with her that will, to her, be as easy as answering an ordinary phone call. If you're the I've-had-a-webcam-since-1994 technical type, you probably don't grasp just how powerful that ease is to some folks.

If she doesn't have WiFi where she is, that refurbished first generation iPad has 3G and with a $15/month month-to-month data plan would give her 250MB of email and basic web browsing.

Don't get anything too "desirable" (1)

petes_PoV (912422) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959338)

There are lots of people coming and going in care homes. The elderly are easy prey for "losing" things and are in no position to make accusations. Whatever you get, make sure it's strongly attached to something immovable.

what you want doesn't exist (1)

iamhassi (659463) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959390)

Let me break this down:
--easy to use
--not expensive = less than iPad
--iPad-like but not iPad
--no internet
--no "advanced features" (whatever that means)

Nope. Doesn't exist. Closest thing to what you described was the HP Touchpad when it was $99. [slashdot.org] You can still get a Touchpad for about $200, [ebay.com] and if you're really trying to go cheap you can do that, but honestly all tablets are pretty worthless without internet, there's no amount of applications you can put on it that will make up for the fact that there's no internet connection. Does the nursing home not offer wifi for residents? I would think she would love to get on facebook and see how everyone's doing or open Skype and videochat.

So here's the options:
A) ~$200 = HP Touchpad off eBay and install Android [slashdot.org] because there's very few apps in the webOS market designed for tablets, only a few thousand.
B) iPad

Why: There's other tablets out there, but in the $200-$400 range none offer more than a Touchpad does. Devices under $200 will be small, underpowered, poor battery and might even have hardware issues, you don't want to visit grandma and find out the touchscreen stopped working. Device over $200 don't really offer as much as the Touchpad does until you get to the $400+ range, and if you don't mind spending $400 you might as well just go the iPad route at that point, it'll be the easiest tablet to use in the $400+ price range.

Re:what you want doesn't exist (1)

mspohr (589790) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959878)

I do agree that a touchpad type device would be good. However, you recommend an HP touchpad (obsolete) because of its low cost or an iPad (high cost). There are other better supported options. Both the Nook color and Kindle Fire are low cost and offer most of what the iPad does for about $200. They will certainly meet the needs of grandma.

Get a Job! (1)

bill_mcgonigle (4333) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959906)

So here's the options:
A) ~$200 = HP Touchpad off eBay and install Android because there's very few apps in the webOS market designed for tablets, only a few thousand.
B) iPad

Am I the only one who thinks he should get a part-time job for a few weeks to raise the extra $200 to get his dying grandmother something that will make her happy in her last few months of life?

I was very tempted to pepper that with obscenities to a degree that would make Penn Jillette look normal. Jesus Flying Christ on a bike (there).

progeny (1)

catmistake (814204) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959652)

Is there a simple device that will let her easily play some games?

Yes, as a matter of fact indeed there is. I believe your grandmother may refer colloquially to this simple but rare device as "grandson with deck of cards."

Now, hang your head in shame you selfish bastard.

Speculating on the Kindle (1)

beadfulthings (975812) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959872)

I'm wondering about the new Kindle Fire. I have no direct exposure to it at all, beyond what I've read and seen on the Innertubes, but if your grandmother has all her mental capabilities, she might enjoy some reading matter as well as puzzles and games. The Kindle would give her access to books and magazines in a format where the print can be made extra-extra large if that is what she needs. I don't have anybody elderly at the moment, although I cared for my Aged Mum. If I did have somebody, I'd be looking closely at the Kindle for them.

(Incidentally, the "grandson with a deck of cards" device referred to in an earlier post also has great potential benefits for both grandmother and grandson.)

The Butler Did It. (1)

magusxxx (751600) | more than 2 years ago | (#37959934)

Personally, I'd get her some Agatha Christie novels to keep the little grey cells active.
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