Tech gadgets don't always make the best gifts for grandparents and other aging loved ones. They often have small displays that are tough to read, and many of them have steep learning curves for less tech-savvy users. However, even as consumer tech devices have grown more sophisticated, they've become more user-friendly. There are many easy-to-use tech products that can improve the lives of seniors with minimal fuss.
Let's take a look at seven smart tech gifts your grandparents will love.
Long Distance Touch Lamps ($150 per pair)
If you want to let your grandparents know you're thinking of them, but you don't have the time to call, buy a pair of Uncommon Goods' Long Distance Touch Lamps. Give your grandparents one, set it up over their Wi-Fi network, and take the other home.
Once you set up your lamp, you can touch it to change its color, and they can do the same. It's basically the equivalent of a Facebook (NASDAQ: FB) "poke" in lamp form -- which is an elegantly simple way to let them know that you're thinking of them.
Pix-Star Cloud Digital Frame ($200 for the 15-inch model)
Regular digital photo frames are often ranked among the worst holiday gifts. However, next-gen photo frames like Pix-Star's Cloud Digital Frame actually make great gifts for seniors.
Instead of loading photos from a USB drive, Pix-Star provides a dedicated email address for the device. All you need to do is send pictures to that email address, and the photos automatically show up in the frame. The device can also be set to retrieve photos from Web albums at Facebook, Flickr, and other services.
Amazon Echo Show ($230)
Amazon's (NASDAQ: AMZN) Echo smart speaker was already a great gift for seniors, as it can answer everyday questions, order products, play media, and much more -- all through simple voice commands. But Amazon's newer Echo Show adds a 7" screen, which can be used to watch movies and make video calls. This makes it a great replacement for home phones.
With a little setup, the Echo Show can also be used to control connected lights and appliances -- which could potentially make your grandparents' lives much easier.
Fitbit Charge 2 ($150)
Best Choices for Seniors recently named Fitbit's (NYSE: FIT) Charge 2 the best fitness tracker for elderly users. The device, which has a large display and a beefy 5-day battery life, tracks a user's steps, heart rate and sleep patterns, and it even recognizes different exercises based on the user's movements.
It also reminds users to move if they've been idle too long. The Charge 2 could be a great way to "gamify" your grandparents' exercise routines and help them stay active.
Sony Wireless RF Headphones ($70)
If your grandparents have trouble hearing the TV, consider getting them a pair of Sony's (NYSE: SNE) wireless RF985RK headphones. Just plug the transmitter cradle (which also doubles as a charging dock) into the TV, and the audio is sent to the headphones. Their neighbors might also thank you.
Amazon Kindle e-reader ($80)
The newest version of Amazon's Kindle e-reader has a glare-free 6-inch "e-ink" display that reduces eyestrain, as well as adjustable font sizes that make it easy for seniors to read their favorite books. For users who prefer listening to their books instead of reading them, it also comes with Audible's massive library of audio books, and the battery lasts for weeks.
This makes the basic Kindle an ideal tech gift for seniors who just need a simple all-in-one reading device instead of a full-fledged tablet.
Apple 9.7-inch iPad (starting at $329)
For grandparents who can handle a tablet with more features, Apple's iPad is still a great gift. The device has simplified computing for millions of seniors across the world and made it easy to check Facebook, write emails, make voice calls, or browse the Web with a simple-to-use touch interface.
The 9.7-inch model, which is now cheaper and more powerful than ever, is still probably the best model for seniors, as the 7.9-inch iPad Mini is a bit small for Web browsing, and the 10.5-inch to 12.9-inch iPad Pro is far too bulky and overpowered for casual users.
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