Setting Up a Tablet for The Seniors In Your Life
Let me just preface this with the fact that my aunt is just barely a “senior citizen” by age and she sure doesn’t act elderly (ha ha ha) but she has been retired for some time and has had health issues that have restricted her movements. Most times she uses a walker and sometimes uses a wheelchair… and her computer is on it’s last legs. Rather than replacing a desktop where she had to continually sit in one uncomfortable spot to use, I knew we had to get her a tablet.
I reached out to my friends at Microsoft Lumia and they loved the idea of helping Aunt Heidi out. I decided they should send the tablet to me, I would set it up, and then bring it to her when I was visiting recently. Again, let me say, for the sake of my Christmas presents, my aunt is certainly not stupid. She could have done all this herself. But in this time where technology moving so quickly, it was just so much easier for me to get it all ready for her and then spend our time together teaching her the tablet. And doing touristy stuff.
So, I thought I would write out my steps for you in the event you are thinking of giving a loved one a tablet (or smart phone) this holiday season. Some of this is specific to the Lumia 2520 tablet, but in general, the concept applies across most tech gifts. I am going to use the generic word “Senior” in the instructions since it is unlikely you will be getting your aunt a tablet – unless you are completely AWESOME like me (and Lumia).
1.) Get your Senior’s email address and password. Explain you will need to have access to their email, to sign them up for things, and that they can change their password afterwards to re-secure their account.
2.) Sign your Senior up for a Microsoft account. Similar to Apple’s iTunes account, this will be a fairly universal log-in on the tablet, in the App Store, etc.
3.) Check for any OS or app updates. (There usually are some, even right out of the box.) Remember, the Lumia 2520 runs Windows RT 8.1 which means you have both the tablet-friendly Windows 8 layout but also have access to a regular Windows desktop, to run Office apps like Word and PowerPoint, which come pre-installed (free!).
4.) Set-up the tablet in terms of theme, background and main settings. Here are videos of the basics from Microsoft to help you.
5.) Sign in to Skype. This is a high priority for us because my aunt did not have a web cam before so she was never able to video Skype with us. If your Senior never had a Skype account, use their Microsoft login. If they did have one prior, you will need to merge that account with their Microsoft account.
6.) Download apps you think they will like. For us, this included Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, Instagram and various games. In the case of some social networks, Aunt Heidi just likes watching along with us! As I mentioned in my post about switching to the Lumia 1020, Microsoft has made great strides in adding quality apps to their arsenal. In the end, we downloaded many more games that my aunt was interested in, and she has been having a blast. (Who says gaming is only for teens?)
7.) Set up ALL these apps – and login to every single one. I found this quickest to do while working at my regular computer and having a tab with my aunt’s email open on the browser. I kept the tablet next to me, would login to an app, go back to work, and when the email verification would ping on my screen, I would confirm… and go on to the next one. While I could have done all this on the tablet too, it was just a really fast way to get through all those logins and not interrupt my day too much.
8.) Set up music preferences. The two apps I use on my phone are the pre-installed Mix Radio (now owned by Microsoft) and Rdio. Both have free versions of their service – which was perfect because my aunt loves tunes, but with her computer lagging behind, it has been hard for me to share the latest. Rdio is my service of choice, so she loves to listen to my playlists. Mix Radio has a great selection of playlists based on mood or artists. I went in and created a few for her, like the Elvis Presley and Kelly Clarkson channels, and she has been happy as a clam.
9.) Set up email. If your Senior has Gmail, Yahoo, Outlook, or an email address that supports IMAP connection – it is really simple to use the Mail app. In the case of my aunt, her email provider only supported POP (I know, WHAT?), so I put her email into Outlook and configured the display views to make them bit more tablet friendly. Then I made the Outlook pin larger and right up front so she could easily find it.
10.) Rearrange the start screen. Again, the “basics” videos take you through this set-by-step. Take tiles off the front your Senior won’t use, enlarge the ones you think they will use a lot, group tiles together by category or function. I found we rearranged more when we were together but this gave me a huge head start.
When you get together – don’t forget TRAINING.
I sat down with my aunt and I went through all of the functions several times in small chunks over a few days and also sent her an email with the videos and links from Microsoft for her to “study.” She has emailed a few questions – but in general, she was off and running with her new gadget in no time. She even has a bag on the side of her walker that holds it perfectly as she scoots around the house.
Many thanks again to Lumia for helping us out –
and I also hope you found these tips helpful!
Get stuck? There is a great HELP section on the Lumia 2520 itself!
Great tips, Aimee!
That was really nice of you Aimee!
Sending this post to my mom, thanks!
Lovely inrivteew and now I’m hungry from those amazing photos! Oddly enough, I landed on that Zebra Cake post just a few days ago and now I’m getting the story behind it!
I told my grandmother how you helped. She said, “bake them a cake!”