Loneliness and social isolation are a serious concern for seniors, with nearly one-fourth of adults age 65 and older being socially isolated. Social isolation can dramatically increase the risk for dementia, depression and anxiety, as well as the risk of death and hospitalization.
Seniors certainly need social connection, but this can prove challenging when family lives far away and is unable to visit regularly. This is where Scott Lien, co-founder and CEO of GrandPad, seeks to make a difference with his company’s device. As he explains, the GrandPad tablet has a lot to offer for families seeking to combat today’s isolation pandemic.
1. Simplified Connection
“One of our first priorities was ensuring that our tablet would be simple and straightforward to use,” Lien explains. “Tablets often have a steep learning curve for seniors who aren’t comfortable with technology. That’s why we designed our device with simple navigation and large buttons. It rings just like a phone, and has enhanced sound. By making it more user-friendly for seniors, we feel like we’re able to address the hesitancy some might have when family members introduce new tech to them.”
As part of this emphasis on simplifying the user experience, the GrandPad also comes with a stylus to further streamline use, particularly for seniors who might have trouble navigating a touchscreen with their fingers. Also of note, no passwords or user IDs are needed to use the GrandPad (something that can be challenging with other devices).
2. Protection From Scammers
Another key point of emphasis for the GrandPad team was ensuring that their device would keep seniors safe from scams and spam. The FBI reports that elder fraud schemes cause over $3 billion in annual losses, with many of the scams taking advantage of technology.
“We didn’t want to create a situation where the device seniors used to stay in touch with family became a point of opportunity for scammers,” Lien says. “That’s why we put best-in-class security and encryption features on the device, to keep users and their calls safe. The GrandPad only allows calls from trusted contacts, automatically blocking robocalls, solicitors and would-be scammers. Scammers can be very active, especially around the holidays, so it’s important that seniors and their family members can have confidence that they’ll only get calls from people they know.”
3. Photo Sharing And Other Online Essentials
In addition to facilitating voice and video calls, the GrandPad offers several additional features to help seniors stay connected, including photo sharing, internet browsing and even games.
“Each of these features are designed to help improve social connectivity,” Lien explains. “Some of our player vs. player games, like chess and checkers, even have video call enabled options, so it can feel more like users are playing together in the same room. The ability to view and share photos can also help seniors and their family members feel more connected with what is going on in each other’s lives. These types of interactions can go a long way in improving attention, memory and overall mental health.”
Family members can use the GrandPad companion app to send and receive pictures and videos, and to participate in games with the senior who owns the GrandPad device. Seniors can even organize favorite photos into albums or leave voice comments on pictures from their family.
4. 24/7 Support
While the GrandPad was designed to have an easier learning curve than other similar devices, Lien and his team are well aware that seniors may sometimes need or want extra help — and they want it from a living, breathing person. In fact, surveys have found that while 85% of seniors want to talk to someone via phone for a customer service issue, only 16% are willing to use a chatbot or app.
“Our member experience agents are incredible,” Lien says.
“They do such a great job of demonstrating compassion and patience in helping our users resolve any issues they might be dealing with. We know how important good human service is for seniors, which is why we try to pair customers with a personal customer care agent — giving them a familiar face to talk to whenever they need help. And with an average wait time of under 12 seconds, I feel like we’re able to do a good job of quickly and effectively resolving their challenges.”
5. Go-Anywhere Convenience
Finally, it’s worth noting that the GrandPad doesn’t just ring like a phone — it’s set up so that seniors can use it anywhere, just like a typical smartphone. GrandPad devices use 4G LTE rather than wi-fi, ensuring they’ll work anywhere, even during a power outage — and with the device’s emergency calling capabilities, this can become a life-saving feature. This network connectivity is included in the monthly plan, without any additional setup or billing required.
With the ability to transfer an existing phone number to the GrandPad, the device can essentially become a replacement for a phone, opening up exciting new ways for seniors to connect with their loved ones.
With its emphasis on helping older adults (the average user age is 85) easily connect with their families, GrandPad is well positioned to help combat loneliness and isolation among senior citizens. Physical distance doesn’t have to be an insurmountable obstacle any longer, as seniors can enjoy the level of connection they need with their family and friends, no matter where they might live.
Article presented by Ann Baker.