What to Consider When Choosing the Best Tablet for Seniors

Residents engaging with content on a senior-friendly tablet

March 9, 2021

iN2L Team

Senior living operators should re-assess their current technology plans to include the best tablet for seniors. Concern about social isolation, depression, and loneliness is fueling the demand for more digital connectivity in senior care environments.

Residents’ families are increasingly aware of how technology can help their loved ones lead purposeful lives and enjoy their “me time,” those moments when they are not engaged in planned activities or interacting with friends. Many families may have already purchased a tablet for their elder, only to be frustrated that the device was difficult for their elder to use and lacked senior-friendly content to capture their interest. After a $300+ investment, they learned the hard way that technology designed for everyone often does not meet the needs of older adults.

Senior living communities should take the lead in providing the best tablets for seniors—not only because doing so boosts residents’ independence but also because it enhances overall satisfaction with your community. When each resident has their own personal device, they are connected to their passions and interests—and the family and friends who mean the most to them. This type of engagement gives staff more time to focus on other tasks that enrich residents’ lives. Families are also happier, because they know their senior is having a great experience in your community. Plus, prospective residents and their families will show more interest in your community if a senior-friendly device is offered upon move-in.

Here are three things to help you choose the best tablet for seniors.

1. Choose a Tablet with the Right Technical and Physical Specs

It’s important to consider both usability and durability when choosing a device. A tablet that suits the needs of older adults should be easy to hold. It should also have a sturdy protective case, effortless hands-free viewing, a long battery life, and be resistant to drops and spills.

Navigating the device should be easy. Older adults are not digital natives, so the navigation gestures younger people use with ease—such as swipe, pinch, and touch and hold—are often difficult for seniors to master.

Did you know a device with a user interface that’s driven by tapping is friendlier to older adults because finger tapping declines later than other motor skills? This means that, out of the box, most tablets on the market will be difficult for residents to use. Adjusting font sizes and turning on Assistive Touch or Dexterity and Interaction to configure a device for seniors is not enough to create the optimal user experience for most residents. Purchasing a device that is designed for seniors is the best option.

For example, the iN2L tablet features icons and navigation buttons across all content applications that are intuitive and easy to understand, providing a hassle-free user experience for seniors. The interface has large “app” or content buttons that are easy to see and touch. The tablet’s picture-based interface with descriptive words and cues guides users as soon as they turn on the device. Additionally, when a community is already using iN2L’s touch screen group engagement systems, seniors are already familiar with the iN2L user interface and will have no trouble navigating their own iN2L tablet.

2. Select a Tablet With Great Content for Seniors

Some communities believe that once they configure an off-the-shelf tablet, it’s ready for residents to enjoy. However, their next task is finding the apps that suit residents’ needs. An online search might uncover a plethora of articles recommending apps for seniors. After choosing a few, the community might have to purchase several subscriptions to give elders an ad-free experience.

The best approach, however, is to opt for a device that’s purpose-built for seniors and includes appealing content applications that are easy to navigate.

The iN2L tablet, for example, comes preloaded with expertly designed and curated content, including over 1,000 games, puzzles, movies, audiobooks, and more. These apps are also available on the iN2L group engagement systems, so elders will be delighted to have their favorite games, music, spiritual content, and more right at their fingertips on their own personal device.

3. Purchase a Tablet With Simple Video Calling

Families and staff will thank you for purchasing tablets with easy video calls. Families want their loved one to be able to reach out whenever they are feeling lonely. Complex technology that requires frequent resetting of passwords or other challenging processes to video call can easily frustrate anyone, especially a senior. And not every staff member has the technical know-how to conquer these challenges for all the tablets residents may own. That’s why a truly senior-friendly tablet should have a simple video communications app.

With the iN2L tablet, all it takes is a simple tap on the tablet’s touch screen for residents to “visit” with loved ones. Plus, they can video call up to seven people simultaneously in one session.

Choose the Option That Benefits Everyone

Technology should not be a source of frustration for residents, families, or staff. When all seniors have the best tablet, technology brings joy to the entire community. When the whole community is united on one engagement technology platform that includes tablets, everyone in the community—from residents to staff—is familiar with the same user interface. That means when a senior is having trouble navigating an application on their tablet, a peer or any staff member can help. Additionally, the content on the tablet can fuel shared experiences across the community, sparking conversations, new friendships, and more.

Download our guide for more insights on the best tablet for seniors in your community.

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Bring the Best Tablets to Your Community

Forward-thinking senior living operators are adding tablets to their communities to help residents maintain the social connections and cognitive stimulation they need to thrive.

If your community is taking this approach, read this guide for key insights.

Tablets for Seniors