Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Aging In Place Wednesday

On Wednesdays, Laurie Orlov, tech industry veteran, writer, speaker and elder care advocate will be sharing her insightful research on how seniors can safely and successfully live independent lives in the home of their choice.


Is the iPad for boomers
and seniors? Could be!

What's the iPad got that boomers and seniors might like? Well, first let's just view the website of a popular netbook, the HP Mini, with its 'reading glasses required' (some might say illegible) screen to go with its very light weight. Don't be fooled by the 'Accessibility Tools' link on the upper left of the HP website. That's for viewing the feature/specifications web page -- which without enlargement is also illegible.

Okay, now wander over to the Apple iPad specification page and scroll down to the bottom. Yes -- that's where you'll find Accessibility features -- "Support for playback of closed-captioned content, VoiceOver screen reader, Full-screen zoom magnification, and mono audio, which combines the sound of the left and right channels into a mono signal played on both sides. This enables users with hearing impairment in one ear to hear the entire sound signal with the other ear."

RIM futurist talks of a "world of Floridas." Joseph Dvorak, PhD, Manager of Innovation and Technology Futurist for Research in Motion spoke recently of a 'world of Floridas'* -- the 700 million people worldwide over the age of 60. That's now, not in 2050 when there will be 2 billion. RIM has some nice features for accessibility and the BlackBerry -- this material is copyrighted 2010, so it's very recent. Thinking about the metaphor of a 'world of Floridas', perhaps a 1.5 pound iPad can be placed in backpacks for cruises or other travel, perhaps assisted by cruise lines that offer iPad-specific charging and wireless features.

Perhaps access to 140,000 apps, a bigger screen than either an iPhone or BlackBerry, the ability to watch movies, check health-related websites, super-size text, web pages, and e-mails easily, and listen to music or soundtracks (with one or both ears). And let's not forget a swipable touch screen that could enhance navigation for those that find the iPhone a bit small. No learning curve if you already have an iPhone. Yeah, that would fit right into a 'world of Floridas.'

Platform for apps and add-ons that boomers and seniors could love. So they probably will add the much-ballyhood missing camera for Skyping with the grandkids. And for those multi-taskers out there, maybe someday you can do six things at once, like the Motley foolish folk. Or maybe, for that $499 price (a fraction of a new Mac), you just want to focus and watch that movie, listen to that music, and relax for a change.

For more information, visit Laurie at


Sage said...

This was truly interesting but wasn't crazy about what is suppose to be ahead of us healthwise.Some of us are still able; Here is an example: Hazel McCallion was first elected Mayor of Mississauga in November, 1978, still very smart and working better than the young one. It's not all gloomy if you take charge, and I know it's all about being healthy; I've been hit a few times but still going.

Sage said...

Senior moment! I forgot to mention she is 89!