For seniors on the go or at home, tablet computers such as the iPad are a handy - and often easy - way to keep up with technology and keep in touch with family and friends. There are also numerous applications, called apps for short, for convenience or entertainment.
Lynne Cassidy of Vienna said that her iPad suits her busy lifestyle. Cassidy is a Delphi retiree and works part-time at the Hubbard Public Library.
"I like the convenience to access the web if I am not at home," she said. "If I am shopping, I like to check prices online with my iPad. I use the calender app a lot. With the calender app, I could enter everything in the calender a month ahead of time."
Lynne Cassidy of Vienna, who works at the Hubbard Public Library, shows Lily Pencis how to use the library’s iPad.
Cassidy said that her grandchildren enjoy playing games on her iPad when they come over to visit. She also enjoys helping her grandson with his homework with her iPad.
"If you have grandkids, the iPad is great," she said. "With the iPad, you can download movies for your grandchildren to watch if they are coming over to visit."
Those who aren't sure if a tablet computer is something they would use can take them home for a test drive at local libraries.
Amy Neral, coordinator of Teen and Virtual Services at Hubbard Public Library, said that the iPad gives seniors a lot of great opportunities and applications to connect.
"If someone doesn't have computer skills, an iPad is much easier to use," she said. "For example, if a family has an elderly family member who is interested in movies, instead of going on a laptop to look a film up online, they could click on the Netflix app on the iPad."
Sandy Walter, of adult services at Hubbard Public Library, said the library purchased an iPad 2, which will be available for patrons to preview.
"We will have an iPad in the building which people can try out to see if it is something that would be useful to them," she said, though she added that users cannot check out the device.
"Nobody likes calling it a computer," Walter said. "With iPads, people feel unattached in a sense that there are no cords and plugs, yet they are still connected to the Internet."
Neral said that iPads are perfect tools for seniors who want to stay in touch with modern technology and have the Internet.
"The iPad has a laptop feel," she said. "I find that some library patrons want their elderly family members to be more up to date with technology. They believe that an iPad is easier for them to set up versus a laptop or desktop computer."
Neral said that patrons can borrow the iPad from the Hubbard Public Library for two hours.
Cassidy often uses the e-reader function on her tablet.
"I could download books on my iPad for free at the library," Cassidy said. "If I go to the doctor's, I always have a book with me and my books are all on my iPad. If there is an interesting magazine article, I download it, but when I am done I delete the magazine from the iPad. A magazine takes up a lot of gigabytes."
Shirley Lisk, manager of St. Joe's at the Mall at the Eastwood Mall, said that she believes hospitals and medical professionals will start to use iPads, especially with electronic medical records.
Lisk also uses her iPad on the job.
"I use it for looking up any type of medication and I have an app with health information on body mass index and muscle information," she said. "What's nice about the iPad is that it could be used anywhere that has a WiFi connection."
Lisk also said there are numerous health care apps for tablet computers.
"The iPad has a blood pressure monitor. There is an attachment blood pressure monitor app where users can push their finger through the flash and it will measure their blood pressure or take their pulse," Lisk said.
"I love my iPad, and I use it more than I use my laptop," she said. "It's easy. I could sit anywhere with it and look at my email and search the Internet."
Neral said that the Hubbard Public Library has some senior patrons who enjoy communicating with their grandchildren and families who live long distance through Skype software on the iPad. She said this communication software overcomes the need to pay for long distance calls.
"The iPad is easy for seniors because everything is all in one device," Neral said.