New York : Tablets, or the hand held mini-computers, can help the elderly cross what’s known as the “digital divide” because of being user-friendly, says a new study. Apart from being smaller and lighter, tablets allow people to manoeuvre online without having to move and click a mouse. “The dexterity required to control a mouse is really hard for some older adults,” said lead researcher professor Shelia Cotten from Michigan State University.
“A certain level of muscle control is needed. And some older adults have shaking issues, in addition to muscle-control issues in their hands and arms,” Cotton added. Getting online can help the elderly feel more connected to family and friends, as well as providing them with useful information. “For example, it allows them to be more proactive in their health care. They have access to health information, electronic medical records and so on,” the researcher said.
Cotten also said that in most cases, tablets are just easier to use, especially for people who don’t have a lot of computer experience. “For the most part they are pretty easy to operate. You don’t have to click on 12 different things to do what you want to do. It helps to ease their tech anxiety,” she said in a university statement. The researchers also found that when an elderly person’s family recommended a certain type of tablet and helped them learn how to use it, that contributed to their computer-use confidence as well.
They learned how to use tablets by watching others use them and also by playing around on the tablets themselves. Recently, Apple, IBM and Japan Post announced collaborations to disseminate five million tailored iPads to older adults in Japan.