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It is not entirely true that older people hate tech, or don’t know how to use it, or have no need for it. These are myths perpetuated by the young who think they invented technology while their grandparents only invented the wheel. What they don’t realize is that the wheel was and remains among the most innovative and transformative technology of our time, or any time for that matter.
Technology has not always involved silicon and circuit boards. But it has always represented new and sometimes controversial ways of doing things. Your parents know all about that. They led the technology march of their day. And just because they are not into “Snapbook” or “Facechat” doesn’t mean they are not into tech.
Now when I say older people, I am talking seniors, not us 40-somethings. The wonderful world of great tech gifts opens up like a portal of understanding between you and your older loved ones. Sometimes, it is just a matter of presentation. Here are a few other ideas to get you started.
A New Laptop
You may recall that I recently gifted my kid’s grandmother with a new laptop. Laptops give people the flexibility of browsing from the comfort of the couch, bed, outside on the patio, or away from home. You you open up the world of someone older by upgrading them to an awesome laptop. And laptop prices have really come down in the last few years. You can get a great laptop for under $500. This is the ultimate gift for someone if you want to add more tech to their life. A great choice is this HP 15.6″ Touchscreen with Intel Dual Core i5-6200U 2.3Ghz processor, 8GB of RAM, and 1TB hard drive. The gold color is very snazzy! Available for only $429.00.
A Great Featured Phone
Now you know that I love smartphones. I think everyone should have one. But, let’s face it… they may not be for everyone. Some do not need the ability to install multiple apps, browse Facebook, or send tweets. For some… having a mobile phone is just a convenience of keeping in touch, and being able to reach someone in an emergency. For some older individuals, typing on a smartphone may be difficult. The keys are small, and let’s face it… swyping can be inaccurate! That is why companies have had to put so much time into autocorrect. But, let me tell you… sometimes it comes up with some doozies!
For a certain portion of the population, this is stressful. They are much more comfortable with mechanical things, even if they are more complicated. We have added haptic feedback to smartphones to make up for their lack of tactility. But nothing feels quite like a mechanical button.
Fortunately, an option exists for those older users wishing they had a more traditional phone. The Jitterbug Direct mobile phone plan is a straightforward phone service offering devices with real buttons. There is great satisfaction in knowing you hit the number you were intending to hit. User-based software assistance is not required. Your grandparents are smart enough. They don’t need their phone to be smart for them. They just need a phone they can use without all the fuss. They won’t miss the apps that they never use. But they might miss having a phone they can use. So give them the cell phone they want, rather than the one you want them to have.
A Smart Watch
Now if you opt to get the Jitterbug phone, keep in mind that this will not work. But, if your parents or grandparents are tech savvy and doing well with their smartphone, they may love having a smartwatch.
Smartwatches can display the time on an easy-to-read backlit screen with large numbers. The Apple Watch has a full accessibility suite built-in so that one can zoom in to make anything on the screen larger. And it can even talk to you so that it can be fully operated by a person with no vision at all. A good smart watch is a smart gift for people of all ages. I have a Samsung Galaxy Gear 2 and Huawei Watch and I love them both!
A Great Tablet
A tablet is a great gift for a senior. There is the iPad, and there are Android tablets that are also great. However, the iPad remains consistently popular among older users. It has the accessibility that makes it easy to read. It has an App Store loaded with apps specifically for seniors. And it comes in a variety of sizes and prices to fit any hands and any budget starting at $329. iPads can be loaded up with reading apps. games, and other useful apps. And the large screen allows for the icon and text size to be adjustment to better suit senior eyes. Beyond the iPad, a Kindle eBook reader is a great choice. I love the Kindle Fire for avid readers. It is a fully functional Android tablet, and it has the Kindle Lending Library built-in. And it includes super easy parental controls that can be set for when the grand kids come over and confiscate the tablet.
A Couple of Smart Bulbs for the Home
You may see plenty of infomercials for gimmick lights that are designed to help seniors and others easily turn on and add lights in their home. The thing is, most of these are not very smart. For not much more than the cost of one of those bulbs, you can add bulbs that truly have smart functionality. I have quite a few of them in my home now. I can turn lights off and on without getting out of the bed, or off the couch. When we went on vacation I was able to set lights to randomly turn off and on in my home. This was awesome! There are great options from Philips Hue.
And to add functionality to an existing plug-in lamp, check out products from Belkin Wemo. And if you want to give your loved one even more of a taste of the future get….
An Amazon Echo
At first I did not think that I would need an Echo. But now that I have it, I love it! Some places in my house the light switches are in weird locations. It is awesome being to walk into a room and say “Alexa turn on the office lights.” I can ask her for the weather. I can ask her to order something for me on Amazon. The possibilities of how this could help an older person who may be less mobile are endless. The Amazon Echo is $179.99. Or, if there is no need for a music quality speaker, opt for an Echo Dot which is only $49.99.
You can tickle someone that you love and enhance their world by adding the right tech gift. Just make sure that you get something that you know they will love, can use without frustration, and that will make them think about you each and every time they use it.