Tech Talk: You're Never Too Old to Play with Technology


tech talk redesignWhen my husband first began extolling the virtues of the iPad to my parents, I just shook my head. “They’re not interested. They’ll never get something like that. You need to stop nagging them.”

And for a long time, I was right. I like being right.

And then, I wasn’t.

A couple of Thanksgivings ago, my dad decided it was time. We knew we had to strike while the iron — not to mention the price — was hot, so despite my anti-shopping-on-Thanksgiving stance, I stood in line with my husband to go get that iPad when the store opened late on Thanksgiving evening.

It was a hit. Not only that, it was my parents’ gateway technology. Once my dad mastered the iPad, he replaced his cell phone with an iPhone, and after a stint playing with my old first-generation iPad, my mom abandoned her laptop and joined the party.

So what technology do you put on an iPad for users in their 70s?

Whatever they want.

My dad wanted e-mail, music and Internet access. My mom wasn’t interested in music, but, like my dad, she wanted e-mail and Internet access and was delighted when I showed her how to bookmark her favorite Internet sites.

Neither of my parents has any interest in social media (though one of these days, I’m going to get my mom on Facebook), but they love being able to view the photos we send them. And, since my mom loves Scrabble and crossword puzzles, I got her and my dad started on Words With Friends. They play several games a day, going back and forth, from the comfort of their easy chairs, and they play Words With Friends with my husband, my daughter and me as well. My mom has even learned how to use the chat feature.

Now, when we visit (we live two hours away), I show my mom the apps I’ve discovered and my husband troubleshoots with my dad. In addition to playing with their devices, my parents go out each day, together or with friends — to eat, to shop, to socialize, or for the inevitable medical check-up. We still talk on the phone almost daily, and visit as often as we can. Rather than being a liability, their newfound technology is an asset — one more thing that helps to keep them vital as they play games and keep up with the world.

And you know what? In this case, being wrong was a really good thing.

Read more of our Tech Talk columns.

Copyright 2015 Lisa Hess.


About Author

Lisa Lawmaster Hess has contributed articles to local, national and online publications, and blogs at The Porch Swing Chronicles, The Susquehanna Writers and here at She is the author of two non-fiction books (Acting Assertively and Diverse Divorce) and two novels, Casting the First Stone and Chasing a Second Chance. A retired elementary school counselor, Lisa is a lecturer in psychology at York College and enjoys singing with the contemporary choir at her church.

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