Using The Internet For Seniors – Beginner’s Guide

Jitterbug Smart 2, Grandpad, Amazon Alexa and Sirona.TV are technology devices created to engage seniors to connect to their family, friends and to the Internet. Each of their companies have taken an existing technology and adapted it for the seniors to enable their high adoption with senior clients.

As our mobility and dexterity decreases with age, some of the things we can use when younger is more difficult to do as we get older. Some such things are using smartphones and tablets. For this reason, companies have designed and developed devices specially for seniors; Grandpad a tablet for seniors, Jitterbug Smart 2 a smartphone for seniors and Sirona.TV a smart TV for seniors.

So, what are characteristics required for a technology product enabling high adoption rate by seniors?

The minimal must requirements for high adoption of assistive devices for seniors are listed below. Meeting these requirements does not assure that the product will attain high adoption however devices who do not meet these requirements will most likely not have high adoption by seniors:

  1. Easy to Use – Easy to use covers many things – in brief product should be as easy as ABC to use example pop a slice of bread into a toaster and comes out a toasted
  2. Minimal learning curve – It is simple, higher the learning curve lower the adoption – do you blame them for not wanted to get into something which is difficult to learn
  3. Available all the time – Just like a fridge walk to the fridge any time of day and retrieve the milk – no battery to charge
  4. Cost effective – most seniors with fixed incomes are reluctant to shell our large sums of money
  5. Mobile – Available everywhere – Many of our seniors are very mobile, so mobility of solution is important
  6. Stigma less – These assistance devices can be like a beacon identifying to everyone around them that they “have a disability” or that “I am now a senior” are not welcome. Hence, the device should have a friendly look and not look like an assistive device.

Device Details – Below provides details of the each the device

Jitterbug Smart 2 – The Jitterbug Smart2 from Great Call is a smart phone for seniors. Jitterbug Smart 2 is an easy-to-use phone for simply making calls and since  it has a touchscreen, seniors can access the Internet, use social media, get live news updates, play music and videos, and much more.


GrandPad from Consumer Cellular is a simple and secure tablet computer that digitally connects a senior to their family and friends. The senior can easily view family photos and videos, play games, see weather for each family member, listen to music, check emails, make phone calls, place a video chat, and much more.
Alexa – Alexa from Amazon is the voice-controlled assistant that turns words into actions. Amazon Echo is a smart speaker for music, queries, and smart-home control. Alexa  answers most questions, controls most smart-home devices, plays music on requests.  Alexa can be used by seniors to help them.



Safety Labs realizing that not all seniors can use a tablet, or a smartphone created a device designed from ground up for Seniors. Sirona.TV is an Apple TV like set top box which provides tablet-like features on a TV. The set top connects to any TV using an HDMI cable. Seniors use the included remote control to use the connectivity features and benefits provided  by GrandPad and the Jitterbug Smart 2.  The setup box also has an Alexa-like built-in voice companion called Sirona. Sirona is Alexa designed for seniors.

For any product to have a high adoption with seniors it must at least meet all these criteria – must be easy to use, must be easy to learn, must be available all the time, must be cost effective, must be friendly and engages and must not have senior device stigma.  Grandpad and Jitterbug Smart 2 both meet many but not all these criteria. Sirona.TV was created from ground up to create the easiest possible system for seniors.  Every part of the experience– the user interface using TV and remote control, Alexa for senior like voice interface and support for Apple TV remote control right out-of-the-box were created to meet all the required criteria.

Below we compare how these devices stack against each other based on how they meet the adoption criteria:

  1. Although Amazon’s Alexa is powered to the wall, it is a small device which can be carried easily
  2. TV comes with a companion smart phone App provides core features on the smart phones
  3. Jitterbug Smart 2 and Grandpad have monthly fees which may be high for many seniors, Sirona.TV has a low monthly fee and may be suitable for most seniors and Amazon Alexa has no associated monthly feeds.

These devices are popular because these meet all the necessary criteria for high adoption by seniors.

We further compare these devices based on their features and benefits. Below is a list of features and benefits these devices support:

Basic Feature Set – The basic feature set of a solution designed to engage seniors consists of Family Album, Phone and Video chats, Games and Weather etc.

Personal Safety  – Personal Safety is also known as Panic Alert or PERS (Personal Emergency Response Solution) enables seniors to alert friends, family or monitoring system in case of an emergency.

Medication Reminder – Medication reminder enables family members to set reminders for medication enabling their senior loved one to adhere to the medication regimen.

Health Monitoring – Using the health monitoring feature family is able to remotely monitor the health and wellness of their loved ones.

Below we compare how these devices stack against each other based on their support for the feature and benefit sets:

Conclusion – Technology plays an important role in keeping seniors engaged. However not all size fits all. It is important to do your research. This article provides good tips and information to help with the decision of what is the right device for you.