We’ve had conversations with our parents and grandparents wishing to try out new gadgets du jour, but they often end up giving up on them, calling it too difficult, reverting to their old, trusty low-tech phones/computers.
This year, give them a gift that will keep giving—a gadget that’s already set up and ready to use.
Our tips on how to make gadget-giving this Christmas to the seniors in your life pleasant for you and for them.
1. Preload everything
Giving your folks or your grandparents a new gadget is good, but taking the time to set it up is much better. Most people who receive gadgets but do not have the patience to begin with an empty device end up not appreciating it, as I discovered when my Dad got his iPad.
I decided to kidnap the iPad for a day, set up an Apple ID for app and music purchases, and preloaded the device with apps, books and magazines that I felt he would like. True enough, this made the succeeding tutorial much easier and he ended up enjoying the iPad more because it already came with content he liked, with tutorials being easier since we didn’t have to start from scratch.
2. Teach safety and security
A friend once told a story how her mom’s e-mail account got hacked, requiring her to change her password, which she then promptly e-mailed to all her contacts.
Once you get the basics down pat, make sure to inform your senior user about creating strong (but easy to remember) passwords and how to look out for suspicious phishing or scam websites. Better yet, create and install bookmarks on the browser so they can click on that instead of typing in the address on the bar.
3. Set up accounts
Most smartphones and tablets require linking to pre-existing accounts. Set up the accounts for them already, like Facebook (if they don’t have it yet) and e-mail. Create a password they can change later if they choose to. Surprise them on Facebook by looking for their friends who are already using the social-networking site.
4. Free tutorial included
Help them master their new gadget by setting aside one full day to teach them the basics—checking e-mail, reading e-books and purchasing digital content. This will help them bond with their new toy and also create quality time for you guys.
Gadgets seniors will love
Here’s a list of our recommended devices for seniors:
1. iPod Nano
Perfect for: The lolo/lola who loves to go for power walks twice a day.
How to set it up: Fill the iPod with playlists of favorite songs from their youth plus a few new upbeat ones that will get them motivated to move. The iPod also comes with a fitness monitor so they can track their progress and save it on the computer.
Where to buy: Apple resellers like The A. Shop, Digital Walker and National Book Store.
2. Amazon Kindle
Perfect for: the bookworm
How to set it up: Fill the Kindle with books from their favorite authors, as well as some new titles you think they’ll like. This will make waiting at the doctor’s clinic more bearable. Teach them how to increase the font size, bookmark the page where they stopped reading and highlight passages they want to share. The latest Kindle models can also accommodate fun games like crosswords and word search you can install when they need to take a reading break. You can even set up the Kindle to receive daily deliveries of the latest issue of the Inquirer so they can stay up to date on the latest news.
Where to buy: Amazon.com (http://www.amazon.com)
Perfect for: the movie buff or the game- addicted senior
How to set it up: Install apps you think your mom or dad will enjoy, like games (Mahjong, Poker, Plants vs. Zombies, Farmville). Get them subscriptions to their favorite magazines and install favorite books and movies.
Where to buy: Apple resellers like Power Mac Center, Digital Hub and Sw!tch
4. Samsung Galaxy S2
Perfect for: your lolo/lola who’s always out of the house
How to set it up: Install apps that they’ll find useful, like the Bible (for prayer meetings) and Wikipedia (for looking up facts and other information). The smartphone’s compact format will be easy to bring around for the gallivanting senior in your life.
Where to buy: Samsung dealers and resellers.
5. A digital camera
Perfect for: the shutterbug who loves to brag about his/her “apos.”
How to set it up: Just spend a day teaching your mom/dad how to take photos, record videos and load content into the computer.
Where to buy: Most appliance stores carry a wide array of digital cameras.
6. A digital picture frame
Perfect for: the US-based gramma/grampy who loves to show friends pictures of their kids and grandkids.
How to set it up: Fill up a memory card with photos from trips, family gatherings and candid moments and plug it into the digital picture frame.