Suggestions for tablet and e-games for bedridden senior?
January 28, 2013 10:43 AM   Subscribe

My 66 year old father will be bedridden for a few months. He's not tech-savvy but loves simple comp games like solitaire, free cell, etc. Would a tablet pre-loaded with games be a good gift? Recommendations?

Dad broke his hip and will be laid up for awhile.

He doesn't tolerate boredom or inactivity well (to put it VERY mildly) so this is depressing and frustrating for him.

He's not a "reader" so books, magazines and e-Books aren't going to appeal to him... too bad, I know. He also doesn't do puzzles, crosswords, Suduko, crafts, etc.

I thought maybe a tablet would help pass the time, but- I have zero experience with tablets, I'm not very cutting edge with the e-gadgets. Would love to hear your ideas and suggestions.

Cost really isn't a concern (within reason). He has good use of his hands (some arthritis) and sees okay.

I also don't know if there will be wifi in his hospital or in the nursing home where he will be recovering. He definitely doesn't have wifi at home and won't get it. So I think I would want to download some games before giving him the tablet, yes?

Would love to hear from you, all ideas welcome. thanks!!!
posted by falldownpaul to Technology (17 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Yes, an iPad would be just the thing. They're so much fun, especially when you're down or bed-ridden.

A couple of game recommendations: First, get Fairway Solitaire (by Big Fish Games). Hands-down the most addictive and delightful game for the iPad. A close second is Plants vs. Zombies. (And trust me, even if you don't think your dad would like a game with zombies in it ... just trust me.)
posted by jbickers at 10:50 AM on January 28, 2013 [2 favorites]

Some Games:

Stupid Zombies (1+2)
Bejewled type games
Angry birds (I'm not a fan, but i think I'm the only one)
Fruit ninja (but that is more of an active game)

As far as tablet, you can do iPad or any of the mid-high range android tablets.
posted by pyro979 at 10:59 AM on January 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

iPad or Android tablet with 3G data (you can get a month to month data plan for $20-30/mo on the cell data iPads).

Install Netflix, Amazon Instant Video (free movies and TV shows if he or you have Amazon prime)

Games: plenty

But I'll bet Netflix is the app he uses the most. Also maybe audio books. I'm betting he gets bored enough to try things outside his usual time wasters.
posted by zippy at 11:10 AM on January 28, 2013 [2 favorites]

iPad is definitely the way to go.

Games I would consider:
Angry Birds Star Wars (sorry, it is just plain old fun, and bonus points if he likes Star Wars)
Ticket to Ride (you have to pay for it, but very worth it)
A Tower Defense type game (there are lots)
Some word games (Scrabble, crosswords, word searches, etc. Lots out there for the iPad)

There are loads of boardgames that have been recreated on the iPad (Ticket to Ride is an example). If there are specific boardgames he enjoys, you can probably find a game for it. Stuff like chess, checkers, backgammon, bridge, etc. are all there.

also, maybe download him some ebooks to read on his iPad.
posted by PuppetMcSockerson at 11:10 AM on January 28, 2013

Also also set him up with a podcast app presubscribed to channels he might like.
posted by zippy at 11:11 AM on January 28, 2013

For more 'game-like' games, my 60+ year old father loves Tiny Wings and Ski Safari on his iPad.
posted by WinnipegDragon at 11:21 AM on January 28, 2013

I'd suggest the iPad mini instead of the full sized iPad. It weighs 10oz instead of 23oz, and that's a huge, huge difference if you have to hold it up for hours. Yeah the screen is a little smaller but one can just hold it a little closer to one's eyes -- much easier given that it's much lighter. And you save a couple hundred bucks also.
posted by seanmpuckett at 11:23 AM on January 28, 2013

BEJEWELED. It is freaking addictive.
posted by maryr at 11:28 AM on January 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

Rather than a tablet, you could just get him a deck of cards. No wifi needed!
posted by MexicanYenta at 11:42 AM on January 28, 2013 [2 favorites]

An ipad would be good. If there's no wi-fi and you don't want to pay for an ipad with cell service, you can pre-purchase and load movies/tv shows from the apple store while at home.

Audio books are also great. I think he might also like it if you put a bunch of family photos on there for him to look through, including old photos he might not have seen for a while.

There's a Where's Waldo app that I enjoyed while in the hospital. I mostly slept, due to the pain meds, and watched I Love Lucy on the hospital TV.

One thing to think about is whether the tablet might get stolen and how it will be secured and also charged.

A non tech related suggestion is to schedule a staggered schedule of visitors so that he gets someone new each day and he's not overwhelmed by multiple visitors at one time.
posted by dottiechang at 11:54 AM on January 28, 2013 [2 favorites]

Not a game recommendation, but you might want a USB extension cable. They're cheap, and would allow him to keep charged if the standard iPad charger is too short.

Plants VS Zombies
Ticket to Ride
posted by backwards guitar at 1:20 PM on January 28, 2013 [2 favorites]

I am ridiculously pleased with my iPad at the moment for jigsaw puzzles. I got the app for the toddler to do jigsaws on but tough luck baby, Mama has to beat the time on that 400 piece puzzle. It's not as good as a real jigsaw but I gave up on those years ago in a busy household and it's still very satisfying.
posted by viggorlijah at 6:17 PM on January 28, 2013 [1 favorite]

Whatever tablet you get, consider purchasing a laptop table for it. I just got one with a wood top that has an indent in it to stand the tablet up in. The under part of it is about 1" foam, with space to store the tablet when it isn't being used. I honestly don't know how I managed without it! Very stable in bed either to one side or on your lap, or even on a bedtable. Sturdy enough that poking at it, even using a stylus, doesn't displace it. And wonderful for watching videos on. Far more stable than leaning it on a pillow, or an easel cover.
posted by batikrose at 1:15 AM on January 29, 2013 [1 favorite]

Ditto the laptop table idea. When I was bedridden for a few months, I was laying on my stomach, and my friend brought over a plate stand - you know, one of those folding L shaped stands used to display plates. This was a LIFE SAVER, as I didn't have to hold/prop it up, and when I drifted in and out of naps, I could just gaze at whatever was on the screen without having to reach over.

Pro tips (I teach iPad to Seniors)

Set his Auto-Lock to 10 or 15 minutes, so if he's got the screen on something and doesn't touch it for a while, it doesn't go off.

Set up iMessage for him (or whatsapp, or similar) so he can also sms friends and family easily.

A stylus is great. An app that allows him to write notes will let him send handwritten notes to family (if that sounds like his thing).

Everyone's covered off GREAT games above already, but Monopoly, Boggle and Scrabble are also very good and he would be familiar with them. Fruit Ninja HD is fun, and Angry Birds and Bejeweled are similarly awesome and addictive.

A Spotify account (and the app) and Tune In Radio will keep him music happy. The YouTube app and TED one may be good for watching hours of inane or inspiring video, depending on his mood.
posted by shazzam! at 5:24 AM on January 29, 2013 [2 favorites]

If he doesn't have a laptop and a cell phone, that's my suggestion. Nice to turn off the cell phone and snooze if he wants. Play games, watch old tv shows on laptop from DVD. Most nursing homes will have a big DVD library.

Even more old school suggestions: get well cards, food by mail (Harry & David, etc), visits from family & friends.

When I was recovering from major surgery, I didn't want visits, but Mom loved having someone around after she broke her hip.
posted by MichelleinMD at 7:52 AM on January 29, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks all, terrific suggestions.
posted by falldownpaul at 7:58 AM on January 29, 2013

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