Friday, May 20, 2011

Aging Parents' Computer Capability--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 2 models. The 3G model has the capability of being used anywhere (and requires an independent contract with Verizon or AT&T, thus is more expensive).  If the iPad will be used primarily at home, 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.
Also, if you're considering an iPad for a Father's Day gift, you might double-check the questions I asked the Apple person who was assigned to me with the Apple person who is 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.
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