Seniors' tablet use on the rise

Recent years have seen a significant uptake in tablet use amongst people aged 65 and over and it’s easy to see why! Tablets are lightweight, portable and simple to use, which makes them perfect for everyday tasks such as e-reading, online shopping and video calling with friends and family.

If you’re a senior who’s interested in embracing the tablet trend, we’ve got some great tips and recommendations to get you started.

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What is a tablet?

Tablets are thin, lightweight devices that fall somewhere in between a laptop and a smartphone in terms of size and functionality.
Key features include:

  • Large displays
  • Cameras for taking photos and recording video
  • E-book reader
  • Internet connectivity
  • Longer battery life
  • Touchscreen keyboard

Tablets have found widespread popularity for their broad range of uses, which include:

  • Web browsing
  • Video calling
  • Reading
  • Email and messaging
  • Video and music playback
  • Social media

According to a 2015 survey of 2,000 Australians, 59% of households owned or had ready access to a tablet, up from 44% the previous year. With new and improved tablets in development all the time, this number is anticipated to rise even further.

What are the best tablets out there?

There are many different brands and models of tablet on the market, but choosing the right one for you depends on your individual needs.
Reading – If you’re looking for a device that makes e-reading easy, try an Amazon Kindle. Designed specifically for reading, these devices feature a glare-resistant screen with a great backlight and have long-lasting battery life to keep you going throughout long plane trips or hospital visits. You’ll also have access to over 4 million e-books through the Kindle Store.
Typing – When it comes to typing more than a quick email, many older people find it difficult to use the responsive touchscreen keyboard. Although more expensive than the average tablet, the Microsoft Surface Pro and similar 2-in-1 devices offer a fantastic physical keyboard that can detach or fold away when you don’t need it.
Travel – Whether you’ve caught the travel bug in retirement or simply want to take your tablet on the move, a great option that is both lightweight and durable is the Sony Xperia Z4 Tablet. It’s a bit pricey, but it’s also waterproof – perfect for summer days by the pool with the grandkids!
Budget – Retailing from just $49, the Amazon Fire is among the most affordable options for those seeking a starter tablet. This unbeatable price has a few trade-offs – a shorter battery life and a low-resolution screen – but if you’re on a budget, it may be well worth the sacrifice.
All rounder – When it comes to tablets that tick all the boxes, Apple iPads are a reliable favourite. Smaller models such as the iPad Air or iPad Mini provide excellent functionality with a lower price tag, while the pricier, more powerful iPad Pro is ideal for any seniors looking to save space with a tablet instead of a computer.
Whatever model you choose, be sure to shop around to ensure that you’re getting the best deal – major retailers can have price differences of up to $100!

How do I get started?

So, you’ve got your tablet – now what?
Most tablets are very intuitive and user-friendly, so follow the instructions to set up your device and have a play around to see what it can do. If you’d like some guidance, consider enrolling in a local class or following an online guide like this one.
Once you feel comfortable using your device, try browsing the app store to find some apps that interest you.
Here are some suggestions to get you started:
Skype – video call and message your family and friends with ease
Words with Friends – an addictive Scrabble-style game that lets you play with friends or strangers
Lumosity – keep your mind active and engaged with brain-training games
Netflix – easy access to thousands of television shows and movies for a low monthly fee
Audible – a terrific range of audiobooks right at your fingertips
With these tips, you’ll join the ranks of tablet-savvy seniors in no time!

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