My family spends a lot of time talking about how my grandfather, now 95, probably shouldn’t drive. But living in a suburban town means that without a car, any visit to see friends or go to the gym (because he still works out more than I do) is impossible. He could call an Uber, but he doesn’t have a smartphone and frankly, would be baffled by the app.
But maybe not for long. A new version of a tablet called grandPad—specifically designed for seniors—will come preloaded with a special version of Uber tailored toward the needs of older people, so that it can be used by even reluctant adopters of new-fangled tech.
As many as 43 percent of older adults report experiencing social isolation—which can have dire health effects. So in communities where people can’t walk out of their house and down the street to shop or go to the doctor or visit friends and family, older adults who can’t drive or have their licenses taken away are at a major disadvantage. Cabs tend to be uncommon outside of major urban areas, and public transportation options are more often than not abysmal.
The Uber app for grandPad comes with a preset list of destinations that can be set by a caregiver or relative, and can be set to send real-time updates about the ride to a family member. So people who aren’t the type to regularly comment on their relative’s Facebook events (hi, Grandma!) don’t need a complete crash course on how to work an app that is more designed for New Year’s Eve revelers trying to get home at 3 a.m. than an 80-year-old trying to get to the pharmacy. If they are into technology, they can break open the app themselves, but with the large-format, simplified interface, they won’t have to strain quite so hard to see the tiny icons of mainstream apps.
Granted, a tablet-based app isn’t a perfect solution. Many people won’t want to go out for dinner or to the grocery store carrying a tablet so that they can call a ride home. But it’s one of the better options facing older people stuck in the suburbs without a car these days.
[h/t: Los Angeles Times]