Tablet Benefits for Seniors and the Elderly

Tablet Benefits for Seniors and the Elderly
September 13, 2016 Tablet Table
In Accessibility, Movement Disorders

While we tend to think about using tablet devices in classrooms or other learning environments involving children and youth, there is another demographic that is starting to realize how incredibly helpful tablets can be in their lives — seniors.

Not only are tablets much lighter and more portable than desktop (certainly) or laptop computers, they also offer a wide range of other benefits that are particularly helpful to those who are aging.

No mouse required

It’s probably something that we don’t think about all that often because we take it for granted, but the lack of a mouse device to control a tablet can be particularly helpful to seniors who struggle with dexterity issues.

A recent study conducted by researchers at Michigan State University ( verifies this. Shelia Cotten, professor of media and information at the university, said that the muscle control required to use a mouse can be difficult for adults as they get older.

“A certain level of muscle control is needed,” she said. “And some older adults have shaking issues, in addition to muscle-control issues in their hands and arms.”

Removing the idea of clicking a mouse and replacing it with a physical movement like a tap also makes the device feel more friendly, even to those who are uncertain about using technology, Cotten said.

“It helps to ease their tech anxiety,” she said.

Easier to read

The ability to increase the size of text on a tablet device makes it incredibly desirable for seniors who feel more comfortable with large print for reading.

Elliott Morrice of Concordia University helped author a recent study that investigated using tablets as visual aid devices, and discovered that a device like an iPad can be just as effective as a more traditional method.

“What was interesting to note was that it didn’t matter what technology was used to do the magnification: an iPad worked just as well as a traditional device like a closed circuit television system,” Morrice wrote (

The study also showed that the tablets, though unfamiliar to many users at first, became easier to operate as users became familiar with the device. This adaptability factor is also important for seniors, who may not have experience in using a touchscreen.

Improving communication

Tablet devices can also aid seniors in communication, ranging from typing to closed captioning and even video calling.

Most tablet devices offer a key feature in the ability to talk to text, which eliminates a need for typing. This is especially important for those suffering from arthritis or other physical limitations.

In addition, some tablets come equipped with the ability to turn on closed captioning services, which is incredibly helpful for those who are hearing-impaired.

And in a recent article in the New York Times, the ability for older adults to be able to make video calls easily from a tablet device has helped not only to strengthen communication with loved ones, but also improved mental health.

“Being disconnected leads to isolation and depression,” Colin Milner, the chief executive of the International Council on Active Aging, said in the article ( “So there’s a significant incentive to getting people connected.”

A single tablet device can serve as a reader, a computer, and a connection to the Internet. Because of these multifaceted capabilities, Interim Healthcare (a healthcare organization that includes senior care) has recommended tablet devices as good investments for seniors. And researchers — including Cotten — are predicting that tablet use among seniors will continue to grow at substantial levels over the next several years.

“It’s all about older persons being able to communicate, to stay in contact with their social networks, and just not feel lonely,” Cotten said.

Comments (2)

  1. Glen Goldsmith 6 years ago

    As everyone knows, technology changes almost on a daily basis. Since this article was written nearly a year ago, I wanted to share a great communication tool that is now available to seniors and their family members. My wife and I did quite a bit of research and just got her parents a grandPad tablet ( The tablet was designed just for seniors, primarily for them to be able to connect with their loved ones safely and it has changed my in-laws lives almost overnight. My wife and I are the only local relatives and, therefore, the default caregivers for her elderly parents. We use the grandPad to communicate with them when we are not able to be there physically. If we are not available to visit them, we can have a video call and it’s like being right in the same room. We can check how they are feeling, remind them to take their meds, remind them of appointments, etc. With the grandPad they can also read news, play games, listen to their favorite music without having to play around with the CD player, and even do a voice email to any of their contacts. It is a remarkable service that comes with 24 hour support. They don’t have to worry about passwords or many different fees from different providers. It’s a one stop package deal. We can’t say enough great things about this product!

  2. Greg 3 years ago

    Grandpad is nice but a big demerit against grandparent in this modern age of the zoom proliferation is that it is not compatible with zoom if it was I think the grand pad would really sell out

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