PORTLAND, Ore.—During these extraordinary times of social distancing and stay-at-home restrictions, families everywhere are searching for new and innovative ways to stay connected to each other. Modern wireless technology can deliver effective remedies against the loneliness and isolation which can be so devastating for our older loved ones, but it’s critical to recognize that these seniors may have little or no previous exposure to using smartphones or computers.
Hitting an ideal sweet spot between technological innovation and user convenience is GrandPad, a groundbreaking tablet from wireless carrier Consumer Cellular designed specifically for the unique needs of users over age 75.
Utilizing large icons and intuitive touchscreen technology on a customized Android platform, it provides easy access to video messaging, internet browsing, news and weather, music streaming, games and other essential functions. It also offers caretakers and family members opportunities to interact with the device user online or by using a companion smartphone app.
“Most of us have gotten used to the conveniences and the quirks of our wireless device. It’s a part of our everyday lives now,” notes Consumer Cellular CEO and co-founder John Marick. “But that’s not necessarily true for our parents or our grandparents. To get them there, we have to recognize that standard technology won’t always fit the bill. It requires a new way of looking at things, and that’s exactly what GrandPad does.”
GrandPad is designed to help keep older loved ones in touch with all the people and activities important to them as they grow older, and to give families a simple and secure way to communicate and share with them.
Just as importantly, GrandPad offers a secure private network that a family administrator can manage for added protection against spammers or scammers.
Using either a website or the convenient smartphone companion app, the administrator creates a “Family Circle” of approved contacts. This makes sure that only those who are authorized can contact the GrandPad user, so they won’t be bothered by messages, calls, or photos from people they don’t know.
Family members who have been added as companions can interact with the GrandPad user in the same modern ways they would with anyone else. Using the smartphone app, they can reach them by voice or video call, send them emails, or share photos. They can even create a link directly to social media feeds, so that pictures they post will be shared to the GrandPad as well.
Perhaps best of all, the GrandPad family circle and private network contribute to a family’s peace of mind. Users are able to stay engaged in activities they enjoy without being exposed to the pitfalls that can accompany devices or online communication tools lacking the proper firewalls and security.
Meanwhile, caregivers and family members can be assured their loved one can easily reach them, and do so in a safe, secure and simple-to-use environment.
“Using technology to connect families doesn’t have to be complicated, and shouldn’t be,” says Marick. “Sometimes, from a technological perspective, it’s easy to get caught up in all the bells and whistles. But the more essential function is to make sure the product delivers benefits that people can actually use, and do so with relative ease. That’s what GrandPad does, and it’s really the best of both worlds.”
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