Friday, May 15, 2015

Why My 90 Year Old Mother Loves Her Ipad

by David Brown


On August 27th, 2000 I set up a group family email in Yahoo Groups for cousins, their families, parents, and grandparents. 

For the past fifteen years we have shared hundreds of emails containing family news, photos, planning reunions, inspirational quotes, holiday greetings, and lots of humor. It has been and still is a fun communication tool and allows us to stay connected in a way that would not be possible from occasional phone calls or personal emails. When an email is sent to the group, everyone receives it at the same time. I recommend this for every extended family to stay connected. 

Both my mother and my aunt were the elders in the family and there was a learning curve to start using emails only on a computer. At that time there was resistance to even getting a computer. My aunt would drive to her daughter's home to use their computer to send an email. My mother resisted for quite a while, then a decision was made and her new computer was set up with the group email connection and instructions how to use the computer and email. Once they became familiar with how to use the group email, they were able to participate in sharing news with family members spread out from the San Francisco Bay Area to Seattle and Chicago. 

Eventually, her computer was used for more than just emails. She discovered Google.

"I love Google...it is amazing to experience the technology. Questions about health, foods I eat, anything......."

About two years ago, at age 88, she declined invitations from my sister and me to get an Ipad. It was just too much to even think about as her computer was a lot to manage. Then a friend of hers encouraged her to get an Apple Ipad so she could play Words with Friends scrabble with her. It was a done deal. 

"The Ipad is wonderful....even though I only use it for scrabble, i know there are other things...I recommend it for other seniors. "

I remember having about seven scrabble games going on at the same time with her, which seemed a bit much, even for a seasoned player as myself. She was also playing about 15 games at the same time with one of her friends. Since she has been working with crossword puzzles for most of her life, scrabble was also a tradition in our family, and so the online scrabble was a new and fun way to stay active in addition to duplicate bridge twice a week, and solitaire on the computer. Ipads can definitely keep an older mind active !

Imagine the future for current baby boomers as they move into the older age brackets.

Apple watches assisting with monitoring health, diet, communications, medications and of course, providing a wide range of choices for scrabble and other games.

An automated in-home care monitor.

A "robot on a wrist".



A recent Wall Street Journal article discusses this:

"The Nursing Home of the Future will be in Our Homes"
The recent increases of in-home care with rapid changes in technology are bridging the gap to transition more smoothly to a residential care facility based on needs.   

As an example of a major trend to bring interactive Internet services to larger numbers of a growing elderly population, Apple recently announced a collaboration with IBM to provide Ipads and services to Japan's aging population. Read the article from TechCrunch on how it is going to be implemented:

  "Apple And IBM Team With Japan Post To Address The Needs Of An Aging Population" 

At age 90, my mother is an example of how Ipads and other mobile devices can enhance the experience of life in advanced ages, whether its scrabble, Google searches, or anything of interest, easily accessible by the touch of the screen.

We have since reduced our scrabble games to three at a time instead of seven.