Tablets like the iPad are so intuitively designed, children can figure out how to play games and browse photos before they’re comfortable speaking in full sentences. But for their grandparents and great-grandparents, who spent most of their lives in a pre-digital era, technology can be more trouble than its worth, hardly delivering on the Internet Age’s promise of constant connectivity and simplified communication.
A new tablet called Claris Companion aims to make it easier for old people to use technology, and to make the experience of aging easier—both for the elderly who experience it and for the family members who provide care. The bamboo-framed device goes beyond the expected large fonts, buttons, and extra-loud speakers to include a bevy of features tailored to the needs of the elderly and their families, including reminders to take medication, emails, and texts that pop up without having to sign in to an account, download an app, or click anything.
Relatives can remotely manage their parents’ appointments or upload photos to their tablets through the Companion’s back end, accessible through any browser. They can also set up a "check-in" notification, which the elderly user clicks in the mornings to let their relatives know they’re doing okay. And the elderly can unintrusively ask for a phone call with a click of a button.
The company writes that it was "founded with the goal of enabling seniors to increase connectivity with loved ones while limiting unnecessary hospital admissions," by making it easier to check in on aging family members and remind them to take their meds. It goes on: "In order to achieve this goal, Claris Healthcare designs technology that shifts the typical care pathway for seniors living on their own from an ambulance ride destined for an emergency room to a preventative and interactive healthcare approach centered on overall patient well-being."
The technology is priced with either one lifetime payment of $995 or with different contracts, starting at $39 per month (plus a fee for the device).