eBook, tablet, mobile — gifts for seniors?

Posted on December 2, 2011


These things can just gather dust if you give one as a gift to your older relatives.  Be prepared to help set it up and help them learn what they and the device can do.  Check-in with them in a few weeks to see if anything has gone wrong.  I can almost assure you, it has.

Only one vendor, Apple, helps the new user learn one on one how to use their products. The rest will help if the owner calls their free technical assistence number.  For many US mobile devices with a contract that number is 611.  Try it, or ask, the people at the store what the free assistance number is, before you leave.

I know from my cellphone and smartphone classes, most seniors get their mobile devices from their kids and have little or no idea what to do with them.  And, they are embarrassed to admit it. I had one student hand me a plastic wrapped battery and asked what to do with it.  Another admitted in the second class that she let her grandson think she regularly  forgot her cellphone rather than tell him she didn’t know how to answer it. I help them use the device and understand why it has over 100 pages in the instruction manual.

To compare a smartphone to their landline phone at home, that’s what the name implies, doesn’t help explain way the devices are so complicated or why they are worth the trouble to learn.

You’ll notice I list Laurie Orlov’s Blog in my blogroll. Here why.  She has a good list of possible, usable gifts for that senior in your life. Here’s an another excellent article you should read before giving tech for Christmas.