An iPad for Mom

With all the options for technology out there, it can be hard what to get, especially if it is for someone who isn’t techie, such as your Mom.  My Mom has had a laptop for a few years now, and while she loves it, she doesn’t use a lot of its features.  She is a very basic user that uses it to check her email, look at Facebook, and play mahjong.  It was when she started looking into buying computer games for newer games of mahjong for $10, that I thought maybe an iPad would be good for her.  Based on her computer use, it seemed to fit what she was using it for pretty well.  Especially since she was interested in basic games that cost 99 cents on the iPad and $10 for the PC.  So the next time she was over I let her try mine, and sure enough she loved it.  She went back to Wisconsin and started saving her knitting money for one and eventually had enough to get her own iPad.

Basically what the iPad did for Mom was simplify everything.  Which I have to say is one of the big wins for the iOS, it is very simple and intuitive.  Unlike her Windows laptops, that needs so much maintenance, updates, and antivirus, the iPad is a lot less work for Mom and a lot less worry for me.  I do not have to worry while she is away if her iPad will get hit by some major virus or anything like that.

Now with all those nice things said, this doesn’t mean she is going to ditch her laptop.  She will still need that for some of her knitting programs, and some of the other heavier things she does.  And of course for backing up her iPad into iTunes.  I still say no matter how far the tablets have come, they still are not a full replacement for a computer.  Still, the amount of use for her laptop will go way down.  And the portability of the iPad makes it a lot easier for her to take with her when she goes to see my niece, or even just out to the living room.

The other thing that the iPad has opened the door for Mom is communication.  With its ability to text to other iOS 5 devices for free, this has actually gotten my Mom to text.  She never would before as the keyboard on her cell phone was inadequate and she did not want to pay for a texting plan.  But with the iPad she has a bigger, cleaner keyboard and unlimited free texting over wifi.  I think I have actually talked to my Mom more over text that I have over the past few months.  Another great feature the iPad gives us is Facetime.  With my Mom living in Green Bay and me in Rochester, it allows us a very simple, easy to use video chat.  In the past we could have used Skype on the computer, however I am not sure how well my Mom would have done getting all that setup and using it.  With Facetime you touch the icon on the iPad and off you go.

The other thing that we setup for my Mom on the iPad was to make a lot of her stuff paperless.  The biggest one was her blood sugar logs.  My Mom is diabetic and up until getting her iPad she carried around a large green folder of tables to write them in.  After getting her iPad I got her setup on Evernote and created a whole system of tables to represent each month for her to fill out.  The nice thing with Evernote is that they get synced between her iPad and laptop.  It also allows her to easily print them out or email them to her doctor, making it a lot easier for Mom to update her blood sugar logs.

However with all these bells and whistles I have mentioned before, the one major thing I have seen the iPad do for my Mom is make her less afraid of technology.  I watched my Mom on her iPad do more with it in an hour than she did with her laptop.  She is a lot more confident and brave when it came to using it or trying out new things.  I was very proud of her downloading new apps and trying new things out.  I can say that if you have a very basic computer user, a tablet idea such as an iPad may be the way to go.  As it simplifies everything down to a very nice touch interface.  And thanks to the iOS environment it is a safer environment that say her Windows laptop when it comes to viruses and malware.  So if a family member or someone not too techie asks, “What should I get?”, before jumping into a laptop stop and look at their needs, a tablet might be just what the doctor ordered.