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Best Tech Gifts for Grandparents

Clifford Cancelosi
By Clifford CancelosiDecember 12, 2016
Best Tech Gifts for Grandparents

A Place for Mom’s former CIO and SVP of Technology, Clifford Cancelosi, is a self-professed gadget geek. With his senior living industry experience, coupled with his technology background, Clifford provides some great senior shopping suggestions and insight for holiday bargain perusing.

Learn more about the best tech gifts for your grandparents this season.

Best Tech Gifts for Grandparents This Holiday Season

I’m an obsessive gadget geek. I love the delight of unboxing new devices. In fact, over the years, I have gained an immense appreciation for contraptions that deliver a fantastic experience without having to invest a lot of energy and time in understanding how to use them.

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Apple thinks about this approach relentlessly. So much so, in fact, that they have an entire section of their developer website dedicated to user interface design principles (it’s why their devices are so easy to pick up and use immediately).

I believe the best solutions are efficient, elegant and most importantly, intuitive. The best gadgets melt into the background to allow the user to focus on the activity without the technology getting in the way of the experience.

With the holidays approaching, I’ve been thinking about “tech” gifts for senior loved ones. Working in the senior care industry, I understand that technologies can not only enhance, but also improve cognitive functioning and stimulation.

Devices that deliver an intuitive user interface are particularly well suited for elderly users. With Christmas approaching, I want to share some technology gifts ideal for grandparents:

1. iPad Air

We can’t always visit our loved ones in assisted living communities as much as we want. But using the “FaceTime” feature on an iPad Air makes face-to-face communication easy and one click away. Your loved one will be delighted to see your face more often, guaranteed. Additionally, any other family member that has FaceTime can easily connect with you, as well.

Something to think about when giving this gift:

  1. I recommend that you use your iTunes account and setup the device prior to sending it off to your loved one.
  2. Put less used apps into folders and make key apps, such as FaceTime more accessible and prominent.
  3. Speak with your loved one’s assisted living community to ensure they can set up Wi-Fi access.Best Buy and Target are offering attractive iPad Black Friday deals for iPads this Christmas.

2. The Digital Photo Frame

Photos are an excellent way to trigger fond memories as we age. This is particularly important for loved ones who suffer from Alzheimer’s disease, as photos help to remind a loved one of important events, places and relationships from their life experiences.

There are many digital photo frames on the market, but I really like the NIX 12 inch Digital Photo Frame. This frame has great picture resolution, has easy to load photos, and can even be setup to turn on or off on a scheduled basis. So consider loading up an SD card with recent photos to send to your loved one every couple of months. Or, consider a selection of favorite photos from the past as a thoughtful gift.

There are many great digital photo frames, but my runner up to the NIX is the Pandigital PanImage frame, which you can get from Sears on special this holiday.

3. The Kindle Paperwhite eReader

One of the best things that seniors can do is vigorously exercise their brains. Ongoing mental stimulation is a proven method to sharpen mental acuity into your elder years. What better way to stay sharp than to read vigorously?

In fact, Kindles allow easy, instant access to a library of millions of titles, but the Kindle Paperwhite is particularly well suited for elderly loved ones for the following reasons:

  1. It’s easy to hold.
  2. Has ridiculously-long battery life.
  3. The fonts scale easily to make reading simple.
  4. The eInk technology is easy on the eyes.

I also like the ability to “Kindle Loan” books. You can use this feature to create a ‘reading club’ with your loved one, which is a great way to stay connected and engaged with your loved one.

This may also be a good social opportunity to create a book club with other seniors in assisted living. This Christmas, Amazon.com will offer free eBooks to Prime users with the purchase of the Kindle.

What’s the Right Gift for Your Loved One?

I’ve named a few technology gift options for your grandparents, but there are also many other great gift choices for loved ones.

The most important thing to consider is whether it’s something your Dad or Mom,  elderly friend or grandparent will use. Can you see them using it on a regular basis? Is it thoughtful?

If you’ve answered “yes” to these questions, you may have found a great gift — you’ll just need to see whether there’s a holiday special to go along with it.

Have fun shopping!

Do you have any more tech gift ideas for your senior loved one that we haven’t mentioned here? Share your tips with us in the comments below.

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Clifford Cancelosi
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Clifford Cancelosi

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