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Apple iPad brought to you by two tech-savvy neighbors

Workshop teaches Riderwood residents groundbreaking tablet computer

Created date

February 21st, 2012

Recently, Trudy Downs and Alan Hedin offered a workshop to both staff and fellow residents of Riderwood, the Erickson Living community in Silver Spring, Md., to learn the Apple iPad. They teach this workshop twice a year and offer refresher tips whenever the tablet computer updates its operating system. The reason we taught it this time was because iOS 5.0 was released in the fall, and we knew a lot of residents would be getting the iPad devices for Christmas, Trudy says. With the new operating system, users don t have to own a personal computer to manage updates and sync their iPad. Now, more than ever, the iPad offers an easy way to connect, and both Trudy and Alan think it s an ideal device for older adults.

Down to the basics

During the workshop which also covers devices with the same operating system, namely the Apple iPhone and iPod Touch Trudy and Alan offer an interactive learning experience, as residents bring their personal device to class. The pair covers standard applications of the iPad, customization, and various applications people might want to add to their own devices. The iCloud (part of the operating system) allows users to set up email, contacts, calendars, and reminders, and the personal settings enable each user to control how he or she interacts with the cloud. Sound like a bunch of mumbo-jumbo? It doesn t have to. Trudy and Alan both show how the iPad is ideal for people who travel and want to connect on the go, like many Riderwood residents. One only needs connection to a wireless network, which the device detects immediately if available. Then, you can check your email or browse the Internet from the airport or from the comfort of your own reading chair. Trudy offers sound advice at the workshop. She advises against storing passwords to access emails, not because of security, but rather for the potential of forgetfulness. Setting the password on automatic means you never have to type it in. She also recommends downloading the user guide directly onto the device to avoid needing an Internet connection to read it.

Instant connection

Riderwood neighbors who buy the iPad or compatible tablet computers aren t just doing so to connect with others. They read, play games, and download photos. And many of them also have busy schedules and need a way to manage their time. It s a nice tool because you can set up different calendars for different activities, Trudy says. Alan has uploaded a Riderwood contact directory for residents and installed it on the campus network drive. We encourage [residents] to make use of the directory and the phone book on the iPad. Once downloaded, if you re looking for someone, all you have to do is type in a name in the search engine, and you can customize how you want the contacts to be listed either first then last name or vice versa, Alan says. He updates the list monthly. Trudy and Alan both agree that the iPad is a senior-friendly device simpler even than a personal computer. Terri Gorozdos got her device two years ago when her son gave it to her as a gift and says she loves it because it s easy to use and portable. Times are changing, and thanks to resident-run workshops like this one, Riderwood residents continue to stay ahead of the curve.