By Sheila McCoy, Staff Writer
About two years ago, comedian C. Willi Myles of Santa Ana, Calif. struck up a friendly conversation with his neighbor, Scott Lien.
It was a conversation that forever changed the way his large family communicated. If anything, it brought them all closer.
Lien told Myles of a product he had developed with his son, Isaac, a year before — the grandPad.
Like so many elderly people across the United States, Lien’s mom had a hard time keeping up with the technology that would keep her in contact with family and grandkids.
Myles’ mother-in-law, Bernie Winter, 86, of Greenwald, faced the same challenge.
“I tried to teach her how to use the iPhone, but that’s a whole different technology. The grandPad is so much easier to use,” he said.
It didn’t take long for Winter to be onboard once Myles and his wife, LuAnn, introduced her to the grandPad senior tablet.
Winter said there are many benefits to the grandPad that she enjoys. But the best of all — she can now know what’s going on in each family member’s life in the present time.
The grandPad is set up so that one family member is the “administrator.” In Winter’s family, Myles is the administrator.
As the administrator, Myles has control over who has access to being connected to Bernie on the grandPad. It is done by invitation only.
Once Myles has sent out an invitation, the invited person can download his or her app onto a device, such as a smart phone.
Since the grandPad operates through wireless data connectivity through a cellular network and not through the Internet, Winter can use the device without any worries of phishing or any other scams.
“Everything is included in the unlimited data plan for about $75 per month,” Myles said.
On the tablet, Winter is able to access a weather app that not only tells her about weather conditions where she is, it also tells her the weather wherever her family members are.
She can also watch and share photos, comment on them, play games to help her cognition and much more. All the photos and videos are saved on a large server, so Winter doesn’t have to be concerned about not having enough space to save photos.
Communication is done through voice or video chat. The video chat lets Winter see who she is talking to. A picture of each family member lets her see who she is calling.
“Seniors may have arthritis, may have trouble typing and may not see the letters very well,” Myles said.
The letters on the grandPad are larger than on a phone, making it easier for her to see.
Another app Winter enjoys is the health app that allow her to learn more about various conditions.
She can also look up different recipes geared toward seniors and learn facts about nearly anything and everything, Winter said.
The grandPad is also insured, so if an owner breaks it or it is stolen, the company will replace the tablet at no cost to the user.
“I love it. grandPad keeps me in contact with the whole family. It was very easy to learn. If I can do it, anybody can do it,” Winter said.
One thing Winter really likes about grandPad is the excellent customer service the company provides. Many times it will let her try new apps. But if there is anything she doesn’t like or won’t use, it will be removed from her tablet.
Myles said it keeps the tablet organized. Many times an electronic device will have many apps the user is not interested in using.
The tablet is charged in a wireless charging cradle. Winter said she can use the tablet throughout the day, whether it is to connect with the family or to just listen to music.
If a certain kind of music she wants to listen to isn’t available, it doesn’t take long for a grandPad representative to accommodate her.
“It’s great,” Winter said.
Being able to be as connected to her family as Winter is now, means the world to her, she said. It also keeps her from feeling lonely or isolated as many elderly may feel when not connected with their families.
Those who want more information about the grandPad, may call (800) 704-9412.