Lilbits (5-07-2013): Do we really need tablets for senior citizens?

I get it. Some folks over a certain age have always had problems programming the VCR or figuring out how the email works. But does that mean there’s a market for simple-to-use tablets designed so even the most tech illiterate can use them?

The makers of Claris Companion certainly hope so. Their tablet has a simple user interface, tools to let seniors keep in touch with their family members, initiate phone calls with contacts, view medication reminders, and more.

That doesn’t come cheap though — the tablet runs $549 with a $39 per month subscription which includes 24/7 support. You can also get the tablet for $99, but that drives up the monthly fee to $59. Or you can get a lifetime subscription and a tablet for $995.

Or you could just buy an iPad or keep using pencil and paper to jot down notes.

Claris Companion

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  • john bayner

    as long as the taxpayer doesnt have to pay for it…yes

  • obarthelemy

    Judging by my elderly (70-80), tech-adverse parents: yes, we do.

    1- they love their tablet, much more than their PC. A simple “I goofed” button (back) and “I FUBARed” (Home) make things much less panicky. Portablitity is nice.

    2- they need special software. I’ve trimmed things as much as I could, they got mail, ‘net, pictures and simple games (Solitaire/Sudoku). They *don’t* want more, for fear of things getting complicated. Latching on to a new wifi network when visiting friends is an adventure: my mom mostly remembers how to do it by now, but most friends have no clue what their wifi settings are…. I’m working on switching them to ebooks too, nice and big.

    3- they may need special hardware, or at least OS tweaks, that are not all available: of course, bigger for reading and bigger for touching, but also, there’s something going on with touch. I don’t know if it’s finger lag, brain lag, CPU lag, tentativeness… but touches that work for me are problematic for them: they drag instead of clicking, they miss the spot, they click something and then chain click whatever pops up next in the same place…

    SO yes, seniors love tablets. Yes, they need OS, software, and possibly hardware tweaks to use those tablets more, more easily….

  • mjdinsmore

    Senior citizens could definitely take advantage of tablets. However, that doesn’t necessarily mean they need special tablets designed specifically for them.

    Of course, I’m somewhat biased in my opinion, as I just get giddy with excitement thinking about the amount of support time I’d save from removing viruses, spyware, and other such junk from my parents’ Windows computer.

    • CyberGusa

      It’ll be short lived, malware is increasing on mobile devices… the more popular they get the more malware will be targeting them and there’s no such thing as a truly secure OS.

      Besides, most malware (even on Windows) is installed by user error by tricking users into installing them… and even careful people can make a mistake once in awhile!

      While spying on users is already a issue for mobile devices!

  • regualrg0nz0

    Vee… See… Arrr? What is this of which you speak?

    Oh! Wait the old: My three year-old can program the VCR / universal remote with more buttons than NASA / knows more about the computer than I do / walks to school uphill both ways / what’s with airline food anyways?!

    One more thing: Programming the VCR was never really hard… Just time-consuming… and even the people who innately understood it never used it.

    It’s like Picture-in-picture on 90′s TV’s. I used to tell customers: “Look… this set over here DOESN’T have PIP, and is $200 cheaper. You’ll never use the feature. You’ll play with it for 10 minutes, then never EVER use it again. Is that worth $200?”

    Didn’t matter. They had to have the PIP. When they came back months later to buy other stuff, they always seemed to listen to my advice a little more closely, tho.

    • De

      My DVR does PIP, I don’t pay extra for it. And yeah, I don’t use it.

      When I’ve got the schedule grid up over the channel it’s on, and the bottom corner of the grid is showing what’s on the channel as I scroll through the grid. That’s useful, but I wouldn’t pay extra for it.

  • De

    I figure this is sort of the like the Jitterbug cell phones. Large buttons, large text on the screen, pretty much only makes phone calls and saves phone numbers. And is disgustingly expensive compared to any other prepaid plan. You’re paying for simplicity.