Holidays Like No Other Helpful Tech for the Celebrating
Sharing Memories Even When Far Apart with Helpful Tech
How about a cool new way to share pictures instantly with loved ones who have limited mobility or technology skills? Can you believe there are digital photo frames that do just that? Never tried one? Well, now is the time. Although there are lots of options for digital photo frames on the market, a few of the available options that allow you to load pictures remotely are the Skylight Frame, a 10-inch digital frame by Sylvania, and an 8-inch PhotoShare Smart frame by Simply Smart Home. With these digital frames, all the user has to do is sit back and enjoy the slideshow!
Spending time with someone during Christmas celebrations and other family get-togethers – even if we cannot get together in person – is what holidays are all about. Grandpad is a tablet designed with seniors in mind, however, it can also be used with anyone who needs a tablet with a simplified interface. Popular features are large buttons, easy to use voicemail, video chat, email, customized music, fun games, a private family network, and more. Grandpad requires a subscription to use and can be managed by a companion app remotely, so someone in the same house or across the country can help manage this device. Ever try Elf on the Shelf via video chat?
Accessories to Make Your Mobile Device More Functional and Fun
We are always on the lookout for new accessories that work with your phone or tablet, and we have found a few festive ways to hold your device. The right accessory can be a case to protect that expensive device, a stand to keep it from being knocked off a counter, or one to help someone with fatigue from holding a device during use. How about a multi-functional stand that can hold your tablet under a cabinet, wall, or can stand on any table or desktop? Or maybe you need a tablet holder on wheels that can be moved from room to room and adjusted for different heights? Think moving from couch, to Christmas tree, to bed for that holiday movie showing. And we all love (and need) space savers! So why not have a tablet stand that easily folds and can be put out of the way when not in use? There are even tablet holders like the Ontel and the Flippy that are really a comfy pillow for your device.
For fun and entertainment as well as to spend time working on a variety of musical skills, how about a musical instrument that connects via Bluetooth and can be played by anyone? What is this instrument you may ask? It is called a Skoog. The Skoog is a soft cube that can be programmed to play different instrument sounds and adjusted to match the amount of pressure required to press the buttons based on your loved one’s needs. You or your loved one can enjoy that music while people around them do other activities using headphones that are so comfy you can even use them while resting! What are these amazing inventions? They are called Cozy Phones. They are the creation of a United States based, veteran-owned company and they are simply adorable! Check out their story here.
More Help with Productivity
With so much business being conducted remotely, we have all needed to find new ways to send information to others. Don’t have a dedicated scanner or fax machine at your house? Smartphones and tablets are great for scanning because they have built in cameras. These cameras not only take pictures (hard to print) but can also function as document scanners. We found this amazingly simple and affordable Scanner Bin that can help with perfectly scanning that document every time. No more blurry or off-center scan from a shaking hand. Scan that favorite new recipe for grandma to try or the lyrics to your favorite carol to that college student far away. When you are done scanning, just fold it flat and put it away!
Tracing Light Pad
This NXENTC Light Pad for Drawing can be used as an inexpensive light box. What IS a light box, you ask? Typically it is a rectangular shaped box with an adjustable light inside and a translucent top allowing light to shine through. It is a common tool used by vision therapists, teachers of the visually impaired, and parents with children who have visual impairments. Available in four fun colors, parents can place objects including toys, dry foods, shapes, strings of beads, paper overlays, stencils and all kinds of fun things to get a child’s visual attention to facilitate learning. Could we play dreidel on it? Yes! Don’t have a visual disability? No problem, this drawing light pad can be used as a tracing pad for those budding artists out there!
We continue to learn about new skills being added to smart home assistants that can lead to increased independence for people with disabilities. Amazon has expanded their offerings of Alexa devices with the animal themed Echo Dot Kids Edition, which has parental controls, and the Echo Show 5. The Echo Dot Kids Edition has fun features such as Amazon Kids + which gives access to books, games, and educational skills. While the Echo Show 5 has all of the great Alexa skills we have come to love as well the ability to control your smart home devices: lights, door bells, cameras, and much more!
As always, we at BridgingApps are continuing to collect and review apps for your mobile device that will fit your loved one’s needs, whatever they may be. Check out our BridgingApps Holiday Favorites list of apps for fun games for children of all ages.
If you are interested in searching for more apps, creating your own list of apps and sharing them, please go to BridgingApps.org. BridgingApps, a program of Easter Seals Greater Houston, is a community of parents, therapists, doctors and teachers who share information about using mobile devices with people who have special needs. Amy Fuchs is the Program Coordinator at BridgingApps and a former special education teacher. Amy Barry is the Content Manager and Editor at BridgingApps and mother of five children.
Cristen Reat is co-founder of BridgingApps and a mother who found success when using a mobile device with her children who have special needs. We share a passion for using mobile technology to enhance the lives of people of all ages with disabilities.