Technology is easier to use than ever before. Tablets and touch screen monitors have forever changed the way we interact with technology, making the experience much more accessible and accommodating for new users.
Tablets and touch screens can be used by anyone, including older adults living with dementia, mobility and dexterity issues, and other common disabilities, like vision impairments. Everybody – with guidance, support, and a willingness to learn – can find great value in touch technologies and the Internet.
Tablets are the easiest device for beginners. Older adults without previous computer experience can begin by playing online games, asking Google to find information using a “voice search” command, or zooming in on their home town map - in only a few minutes.
Tablets simplify accessing the Internet with their light weight and intuitive design, opening the gateway to amazing user possibilities. The primary reason tablet computers are so helpful for seniors is due to their user-friendly controls. Unlike a computer or laptop, a tablet’s touchscreen interface only needs one finger for basic control. Even those with shaky grips or limited dexterity can still accurately touch the screen by implementing a stylus pen.
A huge benefit of having access to tablets and the Internet is free entertainment. Many complimentary games are available on tablets to stimulate the player’s mind, including puzzles, word games, memory games, and sports games, like golf. These games are often considered to assist in brain fitness. They push players to think, be creative, solve problems, and complete tasks. Games can be great fun as a viable means of escapism, which we all occasionally need. The look on someone's face driving a virtual race car at a hundred miles an hour is priceless :)
Another popular use for tablets is watching online videos, through“apps” like YouTube. Users can call up videos of anything they want ... from live music concerts and old television shows, to knitting instructions and documentaries about World War II. There are online videos on just about everything for all to enjoy.
It may not be possible for some individuals with dementia to remember all the steps in operating tablets. It’s suggested that someone stay close to act as a technology coach. New learners will feel they are positively progressing, instead of forgetting what to do next, or accidentally tapping on an in-app advertisement, which can happen to the best of us.
Having a guide to answer questions, or set up activities or games, motivates seniors to try new things that could make them uncomfortable on their own. Often, quick reminders of the simple controls helps users with dementia progress and overcome small hurdles in seconds, which positively reinforces their own accomplishments too!