An evaluation of older adults use of ipads in eleven UK care-homes

Tim Jones, Daniel Kay, Penney Upton, Dominic Upton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The introduction of the iPad and similar form-factor devices (e.g. Samsung Galaxy Tab, Asus Eee Pad and Motorola Xoom) has provided a unique opportunity for older adults to engage with mobile computing devices and platforms. Engagement with 'traditional' computing devices amongst older adults, including arguably mobile devices, such as laptop computers is low due to dexterity issues amongst this population (Hertzum & Hornbaek, 2010). Whilst the iPad removes some of the traditional barriers to computer engagement, new barriers including weight and screen reflection are evident to an older user group. This paper provides an exploratory evaluation of how older adults in 11 UK care-home settings and the staff engaged in their care are using iPads to help improve communication, build physical social networks amongst residents, staff and family members, and map the most frequently used applications by an older population during a six-month pilot period. Results suggest that applications involving information searching for personally related and historical information were most valued by older adults. Further, older adults and care staff alike report mainly positive experiences of iPad use in care settings including the increased opportunities for social interaction and the enhancement of intergenerational communication. Additionally, the barriers to use (e.g. device weight) are often overcome by low-tech adaptations and adjustment when using the device. This paper argues that the portability and adaptive nature of the iPad combined with the increased social interaction afforded by device could increase quality of life in care settings.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)62-76
Number of pages15
JournalInternational Journal of Mobile Human Computer Interaction
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2013
Externally publishedYes


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