11 Replies Latest reply: Apr 26, 2013 6:41 AM by appleuser1322
lizzierose Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

I want some ideas for setting up an iPad for my 89 year old father who has never used a computer and has some visual impairment. The only thing he wants to do is listen to audiobooks. I want the titles of the books to be no more than one click away from the desktop. I want him to be able to control the stop/start and volume with a clearly laid out dialog box on the desktop. Help please...

iPad 2
  • 1. Re: how to set up ipad for elderly user
    James Ward4 Level 7 Level 7 (24,040 points)

    You need to peruse the user guide to get a better sense of what can and can't be adjusted: http://manuals.info.apple.com/en_US/ipad_user_guide.pdf


    Check the section on accessiblity.

  • 2. Re: how to set up ipad for elderly user
    lizzierose Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    James: Thanks for responding. I really want to be in contact from someone who has gone through this same process of preparing an ipad for a senior with no prior computing experience. Basically, I need to simplify the ipad down to about three functions. Anything more than that will cause confusion and defeat the purpose.

  • 3. Re: how to set up ipad for elderly user
    deggie Level 8 Level 8 (46,535 points)

    Why not consider an iPod instead?

  • 4. Re: how to set up ipad for elderly user
    lizzierose Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    I thought of that, but it's too small for him. His eyes are bad and he has trouble with small sized controls. Maybe I should check out the iPad mini. But the question still remains, how do I simplify the desktop.

  • 5. Re: how to set up ipad for elderly user
    deggie Level 8 Level 8 (46,535 points)

    Which iPod are you thinking of? I was thinking the iPod Classic, the click-wheel should be easy to control.

  • 6. Re: how to set up ipad for elderly user
    danigoico Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi Lizzie! I would like to kwon If you solve this? I´m also buying an ipad for an elder and would like to know how to make it easier for him to understand!! thanks!

  • 7. Re: how to set up ipad for elderly user
    lizzierose Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Danigoico: I realized I had to simplify the tablet as much as possible.


    1. I reformatted a first generation iPad by deleting all of the apps and icons that could be deleted.

    2. I moved all the remaining apps and icons (that cannot be deleted) to the second page. Now the first page is blank.

    3. Then I added an app that's designed to help visually impaired people listen to audiobooks. The name of the app is Pastime by RoperoSoft.


    All my parents need to do is press one button, tap the screen, and slide one finger across the screen.


    They still need quite a bit of phone support (from me).

  • 8. Re: how to set up ipad for elderly user
    appleuser1322 Level 3 Level 3 (670 points)


    I have been looking into this subject. We are buying my father-in law an ipad for his 91st birthday in two weeks. He had unsuccessful surgery for a detached retina a couple of years ago and so has vision (not too good) in only one eye. When we were researching how and if he'd benefit from an ipad (which he wants) we weren't sure, but then I read about VoiceOver that is built into every ipad. We're all very excited about it.




    Because you said they have a desktop, they can also set up Home Sharing between their desktop and the ipad if they have a wireless connection. If not, they just need an inexpensive wireless router and a little help setting it up. We're getting a $40 ish Netgear for him that we paid $80.00 for two years ago. They're practicall plug an play and need only cable modem box, which most have these days.


    Your father/parents will be able to do more than listen to audio books. With an ipad he can do a lot more. He'll be able to read and hear newspapers, magazines, etc. There are many games/apps that he can buy that can exercise his brain. They will speak to him! Some months ago there was a thread that went on and on about how nurses/family membes who were finding that their senior parents/patients (some with Alheimer's) became more alert when working with someone on the ipad. It was encouraging. IF he has netflix he can watch movies on it. Your music might be on your computers from cd's. If they have music cd's at home, you can quickly upload them to their computer, put them in itunes, and sync them to the ipad, too.


    VoiceOver will help with so many other things that are explained in the link I gave you earlier.


    Please also check out you tube videos for using VoiceOver in the ipad. The setting up and usage videos are very good and many examples are given by blind people. (Seeing how VoiceOver even reads the apps that might be on the front page as fingers glide over them is great.)


    Also, I'm not sure where you live. Many libraries have free e-books with or without audio that your parents can take out. I learned last week from someone looking for the same, that if you're in Canada there is something called CNIB where people with vision problems can get all the e-books they want. You might want to google it and see where you can get free -ebooks for your parents. Audio books can be expensive. The thread below 


    Please go to the link above and then check out you tube.


    I wish my 86 year old Mom (vision is good) would use an ipad.


    I hope this helps.

  • 9. Re: how to set up ipad for elderly user
    danigoico Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    thanks lizzie, love the idea of moving the unused apps to another screen.

    I´ll try it.

    Ive heard that dragon dictation works well with seniors, because it is usually difficult for them to write on the ipad. have you tried that?

    thanks a lot!

  • 10. Re: how to set up ipad for elderly user
    danigoico Level 1 Level 1 (0 points)

    Hi! I went over VoiceOver and looks incredible, and also learned you can use Zoom too! this is great! thanks for the information.

  • 11. Re: how to set up ipad for elderly user
    appleuser1322 Level 3 Level 3 (670 points)

    Hi danigoico,


    I was hoping you and Lizzierose would see my post. Sometimes I get e-mail notifications, sometimes not. I had kept out the post in a window last night trying to figure out, given time posted, if/when you both might check might check today. (We're in USA on East Coast time, but it posts West Coast time...) I was happy when I checked my e-mail this am and saw that you, at least, got the post.

    I hope you checked out you tube videos.


    Just an fyi, I just orderred my father-in-law's ipad. We bought an ipad 2 16gb in the refurb store for $319.00. It wasn't our first refurb store buy. We were getting my husband one, and asked to to wait until the old, new, (discontinued after months) ipad came out so I could compare. Given what I researched, (some major heat on the back and lower battery time, attributed to the larger, faster battery for the retins screen) we decided to stick with the ipad 2. However, we couldn't find a new 32 gb anywhere. So for the first time we went to the Apple refurb store and given the price, we went for the 64 gb. When our younger son came home from college for the Summer, he loved the ipad 2 and so he got one. Both are very happy with them and no heat and about ten hours of battery time.


    The ipads in the Apple refurb store come with new front and back covers, a brand new battery and a full one year warranty. It also ships in the same new box as a new ipad. There's just a little line that says it is a refurbished ipad. I have them shipped to an Apple Store near us and we had both set up there. If you're near one, you might want to do that. Just be sure you have the e-mail address of the person you're buying for, and ask that person to give you a new Apple ID password. They'll set up itunes, icloud, etc. They'll all have the same ID and they can have the same password. PLEASE write down the ID and password. You'd be amazed at how many posts are made asking for help because they forgot the password, and the problems that can create.


    Please note that there can be a lot of turnover and what you want might disappear. When I ordered my husband's, it was on the site. When our son decided to get one, it took over two months for the 64gb to come back on the site. (I've been checking the site for a couple of weeks. No 32gb have been there and only black 16 gb. This morning, though, a white one showed up. 64 gb are usually there.) I'm sure, especially with Home Sharing and libraries, I think 16 gb would be enough. So if you consider a refurb ipad 2, I'd suggest you get it fast. You'd have 14 days to return it. Don't forget about a wireless router.


    Whatever you decide, please let us know, and hopefully, this will help lizzierose, too.


    Hope this helps!