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You decide to splurge on the perfect gift for Bubby and Zaidy. You want something that’ll make their lives easier and more enjoyable. What better idea than the latest smartphone or tablet, or even a brand-new smart TV, right?

Not so fast! While many grandparents aren’t fazed by the learning curve and embrace technology that provides them with the ability to be a part of their grandchildren and great-grandchildren’s lives, for some, especially those in their 80s and 90s, the small screen can be difficult to manipulate, and becoming proficient in smart devices can present difficulties. Like everything in life, gift-giving is an art, and knowing your audience is paramount.


Here are some alternative and useful tech gadgets for elderly people who may have limitations that prevent them from adopting the latest and greatest tech.

Electric Jar Opener: An electric jar opener is especially helpful for those with arthritic hands. It requires little to no effort, and opens the jar simply and cleanly, usually with just the push of a button. A variety of electric jar openers are available on Amazon, and the neighborhood kitchen store might have a few too.

Tinylogics Memo Box: As people age, they often increase in prescription medicine intake. Even perfectly healthy seniors may take vitamins and other nutritional supplements. Tinylogics Memo Box 7 Day pillbox reminds users when it is time to take their medications and/or vitamins.

Yes, it has an app. For the many seniors who aren’t adept at using smart devices, the box itself blinks and beeps to attract the user’s attention. Other alerts include double dose alert, misplace alert and “find me” alert.

Motion-Activated Toilet Night Light: For seniors whose balance isn’t what it once was, waking up to use the bathroom at night can present a challenge. Do they risk stumbling in the dark or do they turn on the light, causing the harsh bathroom bulbs to jolt them awake and ruin the rest of the night’s sleep?

The motional-activated toilet prevents seniors from falling and keeps them in sleep mode. For those who choose to take this route, a rabbi should be consulted with regard to Shabbos.

Voice Clarifying TV Headset: Hearing-impaired elderly people often crank up the volume on devices because they want to hear properly. Often this causes more harm than good.

The Voice Clarifying TV Headset aims to make the words clearer to help the user hear better. An alternative product is the TV Listening Speaker (Serene Innovative Listening Speaker), which also attempts to provide voice clarity using a device with adjustable audio levels.

Simple Big Button Remote Control: The remote can be overwhelming for some seniors, with its many tiny buttons and complicated processes. Simple Big Button Remote Control has just a few very large buttons – On/Off, Channels and Volume – which light up for easier viewing.

Big Button Phone Dialer: The Big Button Phone Dialer enables users to customize each button with whatever phone number they desire. Calling a grandkid, child or sibling? The senior simply pushes a button on the keypad, and voila!

Mobility Aids: Although this isn’t a tech gadget per se, it can be useful for elderly people who have arthritis or struggle with their balance. Seniors grab onto the cane-like stick to get into a car, get off the couch, or go to the bathroom. There are some universal stand assists and others for specific tasks, like the Auto Assist Grab Bar.

Tile Sticker: Never want to lose your keys again? Tile Sticker is a water-resistant sticker that can be put on everyday household items to help the user keep track of them. It requires an app, hence seniors who don’t have a smartphone or tablet will need to use an app on someone else’s phone.

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Bracha Halperin is a business consultant based in new York City. To comment on her Jewish Press-exclusive tech columns -- or to reach her for any other purpose -- e-mail her at [email protected]. You can also follow her on Instagram or Twitter at: @brachahalperin.