Technology Gift Ideas for Grandparents: Staying in Touch in a Digital World

These days, families are far more spread out than they used to be. And people are much more likely to relocate for new jobs, retirement or an array of other reasons.

As Judy DeMocker writes for

As Americans become increasingly mobile, long distances often separate grandparents and grandchildren. An AARP study revealed that 45 percent of grandparents live more than 200 miles away from their grandchildren, notes Amy Goyer, national coordinator of the grandparent information center at the AARP Foundation. Since grandparents are continuing to work into their 60s, most grandparents only have time for semi-annual or annual visits.

Even if you live across the country, however, it’s now easier then ever to stay connected with grandparents — from phone calls and emails to live video chatting. The thing is, many grandparents are not yet equipped with the technology they need to stay connected.

Let’s take a look at some of the easy-to-use, technology gifts for grandparents that can help keep them connected with the family, no matter how far apart they live.

The Amplified Freedom Phone

There are many phones out there that compensate for vision impairment with oversized keypads and amplification. Unfortunately, in most cases, the amplification doesn’t take into account the fact that phone lines vary. An audio boost of 25% won’t give you as much volume on a weaker phone line. The Amplified Freedom Phone provides a full 55dB increase no matter how weak the input from your home line may be. And that’s in addition to the usual features we have all come to expect: the built-in answering machine, name and number memory, caller ID, call waiting, and more.

Novella Tablet Reader

Why would I write about an eBook reader in a post about communication? Because the Novella Tablet for seniors also allows you to surf the Web, use Facebook and other social networks, check email, and beyond. With more and more grandparents using email and social media every day, this can be a great, portable way for grandparents to interact with family and friends. With the larger-than-average keyboard and the control of text size (almost twice as much as on most tablets), it is very user-friendly for grandparents who may have vision trouble.

WOW! Computer for Seniors

Email, Facebook, YouTube, and other ways of staying in touch can be a bit intimidating, especially for those completely unfamiliar with computers. In addition to the perceived complexity of computers for grandparents, there’s a practical consideration that standard-size keyboards and screens can be an obstacle. These issues are easily overcome by the WOW! Computer for Seniors.

Featuring a large touch screen, it removes the “small keyboard problem,” and the interface is streamlined for ease of use and simplicity. As a bonus, it’s also easy to set up: take it out of the box, plug in the power and the Internet connection. That’s it!

Digital Camera With Look-Through Viewfinder

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Pictures are worth a lot more than that to doting grandparents. Of course, those same grandparents often want to take and share pictures of their own. Enter the Leather Retro Digital Camera With Look-Through Viewfinder. Featuring a retro body style immediately familiar to most seniors, it combines modern technology with a familiar form.

You can even choose to use either the large LCD screen on the back or a traditional look-through viewfinder when framing the shots. With a 12.1MP resolution, smile and face detection, and red-eye reduction, among other features, it’s the perfect union of modern and classic technology, and extremely easy to operate.

Though seemingly intimidating, technology products can make excellent gifts for grandparents, helping to keep them connected and bring them closer to the entire family. It’s just a matter of finding gadgets and devices that are easy to set up and easy to operate, even for those who aren’t very comfortable with the digital world.

George Williams is a technology journalist for firstSTREET Online, a leading provider of innovative products for seniors and beyond. George blogs about tech advice for seniors on the firstSTREET Blog.
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