Tech gifts for seniors and boomers that enhance the life of the recipient and probably you as well. All of these items have excellent price performance, you can decide how much to spend. No matter what you choose, these gifts will show your loved ones that you care about them and should both enhance their lives and make them happy.
The special personalized effort involved with these suggestions is where the love lies.
We are very partial to Apple products for seniors and boomers because they are the simplest to use but the carefully selected accessories here work for Android as well.
Set up iPhone, teach your senior how to use it.
The senior in your life will appreciate the home made efforts you make to discuss what they want on their phone and set it up for them. The phone could be bought by them or you. That’s your choice.
To save them money, add them to your mobile phone family plan. Even if they pay you back for the monthly cost, this will be a lower cost for them than paying directly to AT&T, Verizon or others as a single user.
You’ll want to get them a case for their iPhone. We recommend a very simple but protective case. Remember that their fingers aren’t what they used to be, so we recommend that you buy a case that you can just put and leave on. It shouldn’t require removing to clean like some soft rubber cases do.
Karbon and Aergo Series Kevlar Smart Phone Case from Evutec
The Evutec Aergo Series is a super-slim, protective snap case for smart phones. Visibly lined with official Dupont™ Kevlar®, a woven material that is 5x stronger than steel at the same weight, the Karbon Series provides incredible strength and resiliency in a lightweight design. The profile is just 0.7mm thin. Each Karbon Series case is treated and polished with five-layer Evutouch® Coating for exceptionally easy-to-grip, scratch-resistant protection. Karbon Series cases are fabricated without any metal substances or components so you’ll never have to worry about interference with your wireless signals. (Aergo is similar)
I used this case for almost a year and not only did I enjoy it, my friends admired it. I dropped it on the ground a sufficient number of times that I can vouch for it being very protective. It has just enough lip to protect the phone. The case you see in the photos below is mine. It was rubbing up against my keys and other objects in my bag. It is still 99% perfect.
Cost: $30 to $40.
Audio-Technica ATH-ANC70 Noise Cancelling Over the Ear Headphones with Microphone
The ANC70 can be used to listen to music, audio books, TEDTalks, YouTube, Netflix and other content that you store or stream onto your mobile device or computer – while cancelling unwanted environmental noise. Since hearing acuity usually declines as seniors age, quality headphones make it much easier for them to enjoy audio on any device. You’ll notice that if they don’t have headphones, seniors often turn their phone to speaker mode to hear better. Importantly, these headphones include a microphone that allows them to take phone calls or FaceTime with you as well.
These headphones are great for everyone, but we particularly like them for seniors for the following reasons. First, they are not wireless. We find that seniors are more comfortable with an accessory that plugs in. You don’t have to worry about pairing and lost connections.
Second, since high-frequency sensitivity usually declines with age, older users prefer a sound profile skewed toward the bass end of the frequency range. Given that hearing acuity generally declines with age, noise reduction is a welcome feature for seniors.
Innovative Technology Justin Power Bank with Built-in Stand
In addition, you may wish to get them the Innovative Technology Justin Power Bank with built-in stand that both keeps an iPhone (or other smart phone) powered longer and gives your senior a stand to watch things like TEDTalks videos on.
This device can also be used to set up the phone as an alarm clock. It is easier to hit “snooze” without waking up with this sturdy stand. If your smart phone is lying on the bed stand you have to actually look at it to hit snooze.
Cost $25. Available at Kohls.
Set up iPad, teach your senior how to use it
Apple’s new “News” section works extremely well with their “accessibility” feature for large type. Turning this on in the iPad settings is a snap. Now help them personalize their Apple News by selecting topics and publications that they like. Voila, every day they have a wealth of news in large type. Of course, with the iPad, they can also easily zoom in pages that are not built for accessibility such as in the Texture app for magazines but you will find they really like this built in large type feature.
Octa TableTail iPad Stand Systems
Promise them an Octa TabletTail tablet stand support system (link to our detailed review) and set it up for them, so that it is easy to use their tablet in bed, on the couch, at a table or even from a wall holder in the kitchen. Though great for seniors (once you set it up for them) this product is useful for any tablet user.
Clarity XLC3.4 Amplified Cordless Phone for Senior Hearing Loss
50% of seniors over 85 have some level of hearing loss.
We tested the Clarity XLC3.4 at two different assisted living facilities this year. Set up is extremely easy and there is good support that can be reached pushing the “brain” icon on the phone or of course by calling them. My only complaint would be is that their tech support open hours are limited to 9am to 7pm ET weekdays 1-800-426-3738.
There are four tone settings to chose from:
tone 1 – high pitch
tone 2 – middle – (apparently this is me)
tone 3 – deep
tone 4 – hearing aid
The sound gets really loud – up to 50 decibels. It also amplifies the outgoing speech from the senior which is very much appreciated.
An important feature is that the senior’s voice comes through clearly to the caller as well.
In terms of where this system will work well. You are setting tones and levels to one specific user. The phone can easily co-exist on a system with other portable phones on the same phone number. Theoretically the phone can be in their room if it is a small facility and they let them spend time in their rooms. In the second facility, their mantra is to keep the seniors out of their rooms so it is a little more complicated but workable as they will plug it in and we can call back for him to get the call. The third scenario is a very large assisted living or nursing facility where there are plenty of opportunities to get them in their room and they have their own phone number and pay for their own phone line in any case.
The fourth scenario is that they are still at home (lucky!). This is the optimum scenario. The phone blinks in a whirling blue around the base when a call comes in and there is a loud spoken caller ID.
They can choose to use the speaker phone as seniors are prone to do but I think that defeats the purpose of this phone. They break the habit after a few times of holding the very comfortable headset which fits to their ear very nicely.
This model does not include an answering machine but you can use an answering machine from your existing cordless phone system.
Clarity is a Plantronics company.
Cost: $160 on the Clarity website.
Tech Gifts for Boomers
Trackr Helps Find Lost Keys, Pets and More
Trackr is not the only device out there for finding your stuff but it is a good one.
A great gift for Boomers, seniors and those of you who keep misplacing things ahead of your time.
We also recommend that you leave your items in the same place whenever possible. But Trackr is great for travel and for those times that we just forget to leave our items where we should.
The setup is simple. You just download the Trackr app onto your iPhone or Android and then pair a Trackr with each item you want to track.
The model shown here is from January 2015. We visited the booth at CES 2016 and the latest model is similar in appearance but thinner and with a battery that lasts a year.
Cost: $15 – $30/unit (depending on volume purchased).
ZeroChroma Vario Protect iPhone Case
We love this case. I actually looked all over CES for an iPhone case with a built in kick-stand in 2014 and couldn’t find one. This is a great inexpensive case with a kickstand. Please find here our detailed review for the ZeroChroma iPhone and iPad cases with built-in adjustable kick-stands.
We recommend this one for everyone except seniors though because you need just a bit of finger dexterity to pull out the stand.
Once you get it out, it easily rotates in any direction.