Aging Parents’ Computer Capabilities–2

A Heads-Up Before Buying an iPad for Aging Parents

At the Apple Store I asked for help selecting an iPad for an older person. If you’re thinking of gifting an aging parent with an iPad, keep the following (learned in response to my questions to the Apple person assigned to me) in mind. You need to have a compatible computer in order to install iPad updates or trouble-shoot problems, according to him.  Phone support is also available–$79 for 2 years. It doesn’t seem to me that the iPad can substitute for your parents’ computer.  In addition:

1.  A compatible HP printer is necessary to be able to print something from the iPad.  The Apple Store sells the HP compatible models (least expensive is about $150).
2.  Since the iPad is wireless it’s necessary to bring wireless to the house/apartment if it isn’t already there (and of course there’s a monthly charge). If cable has already been installed “it’s probably OK.”
3.  The iPad comes in several models. The 3G model has the capability of being used anywhere (but requires an independent contract with Verizon or AT&T, thus becomes more expensive).  If the iPad will be used primarily at home where there’s wireless, no need for the 3G model.
4. A $69 keyboard is available for people who touch type and find the smooth surface of the iPad a difficult adjustment.
5.  Because, as I understand it, it’s necessary to have a compatible computer in order to install updates or trouble-shoot problems on the iPad, it may mean buying a new computer for your parents–probably a Mac.
6.  Anyone who has changed from pc to Mac, knows it’s an adjustment. Older people usually find change more difficult.  I know it took me a while to feel comfortable when I made the change (even the vocabulary changes–ie. “favorites” become “bookmarks”) so being available to answer aging parents’ questions and being supportive during the transition makes sense.
7.  Purchasing the One to One year’s worth of help ($99) at an Apple store is an option although a short period of free help at an Apple Store comes, I believe, free.

If you’re considering an iPad for an older person’s gift, you might double-check the questions I asked the Apple person who was assigned to me with the Apple person who will be assigned to you.  And if you should get different information, please let me know.  After all– we want to help aging parents, not give them more problems

Tomorrow I’m visiting my 89-year-old friend. Our goal: to make her a more comfortable, knowledgeable iPad user. (Check my last post–Aging Parents’ Computer Capabilities–1.  She inspired it.)

Related: Why an iPad for Seniors