(Editor’s note: This content is sponsored by Consumer Cellular.)
Home-based technology tools are a great way to deliver peace of mind to caregivers who want to help an aging parent or grandparent stay safe in their home and to combat the debilitating isolation that often accompanies growing older.
Modern devices like activity sensors, automated medication dispensers and other “smart” technology offer caregivers immediate access to information about a loved one’s activities and medical diagnoses, and assist with things like dispensing medications and even controlling thermostats, lighting and other household settings.
But while these are great tools to help simplify the mechanics of caregiving, experts say they work best in conjunction with a strong human touch. Relying strictly on automation can be overwhelming and confusing, and often technological solutions simply become a substitute for personal interaction.
The Best of Both Worlds
It’s with that in mind that Consumer Cellular, the nationwide cellular provider, began offering the GrandPad in Spring of 2018. The simple, touchscreen-based tablet is designed to be easy for older adults — especially those ages 75 and over—to navigate. More importantly, it’s designed to provide essential tools that let a user connect with family members and friends in a safe, secure online environment.
Neither as complex as traditional tablets or laptops nor as confusing for older users to navigate as a smartphone, GrandPad finds its niche by offering an experience for the entire family. Users can make voice or video calls, send voice or typed messages, and send and receive photos. They can also stay active by browsing the internet, streaming music and playing games.
A chosen “family administrator” takes on the responsibility of remotely approving who can contact the user, which applications are available for use and managing internet access and security settings. Calls and messages are made on a secure, private network, and approved contacts can connect with the user online or using a smartphone app for calls, messages or photo sharing.
Making Connections Easy
GrandPad humanizes the caregiving experience. Caregivers can use video calling to have face-to-face conversations with a loved one from anywhere, and can also monitor usage to track activity. Consumer Cellular’s support specialists even monitor the device and provide text or email alerts if activity hasn’t been detected.
For the user, GrandPad offers a straightforward experience, providing large icons and type on an intuitive touchscreen for easy navigation. A monthly service subscription includes unlimited data use, unlimited voice and video calling and ad-free music streaming.
And its list of user-friendly features continues to grow: in October, a ridesharing service called CC Go was added, allowing family administrators to set up an account through Lyft for users to order pre-paid transportation with a few taps on the app. The administrator receives notifications when a ride has been scheduled, and a confirmation when the user arrives at the destination.
Technology on a Human Scale
Response to GrandPad since it rolled out has been enthusiastic. Forbes, AARP, and The New York Times have featured GrandPad in articles about innovative technology choices for older adults. And GrandPad families have been delighted with the positive experiences it provides for them and their loved ones
“GrandPad is the answer that I have been looking for,” noted Scott Pearson, an early adopter who purchased GrandPad as a gift for his 88-year-old-father. “Almost all of our family members have smartphones and iPads, and dad had no way of really connecting with them. Now we will all be active in keeping him engaged and checking up on him, and with a short time sitting with him using the GrandPad, he understands how to use it and how useful it will be not just for him but for all of us.”
Modern wireless technology plays a vital role in keeping our parents and grandparents in touch with people and events so they can remain a vibrant part of our lives. Interactive devices like GrandPad ensure that your loved ones have the tools they need to stay connected to their world with ease, while providing caregivers with the comfort that comes from knowing they are safe and secure.
Next Avenue brings you stories that are inspiring and change lives. We know that because we hear it from our readers every single day. One reader says,
"Every time I read a post, I feel like I'm able to take a single, clear lesson away from it, which is why I think it's so great."
Your generous donation will help us continue to bring you the information you care about. What story will you help make possible?