Three Holiday Gift Ideas for Older Techies

I have come to accept the fact that I am, in fact, a “senior citizen.” Should I try to forget it, my three great grandchildren stand as a reminder. I am also a serious computer user, spending several hours a day in front of my Mac or on my iPad working on various projects and preparing teaching materials.

There are three devices that make the technical part of my life easier and more fun. I recommend each of them as a good gift choice for the seniors in your life who also enjoy their computers or iPads. You’re welcome.

Satechi’s ReadMate LED Desktop Magnifier 


ReadMate magnifier

You can read my full review of the ReadMate  for all the specifics. I have been using this item since March of 2014. I sometimes use it daily. Here’s why - it’s easy to use, I can always find it, and the lighted magnification is 5X which makes it possible for me to read almost any fine print.

To use it I place it over the material I want to read, press down on the top so that the LED light comes on, and read. I can use it with or without my reading glasses. When I am through I clean the lens with the microfiber cleaning cloth that is included, put it back in the hard case, and zip it up. That leads to the second reason I like it so much.

Here's a promo photo showing it in action:


I can always find it. It sits safely in the little zipped hard case, taking up a minimal amount of room (less than 4-in (10-cm)) clearly in-sight, on my desk top. I usually keep it on top of my router so it is not really taking up any unused space. Should the cat knock it over, or the grandchild grab it, the case protects it.

The magnification of 5X is wonderful. I have used it to read very fine print, print that is a little lighter than the surface upon which it appears, and even to determine if that tiny screw that goes in my glasses has a phillips head or a straight head. 

Slight detour here for a message for those designers who think it looks cool to use light gray print on a medium gray background. Get over yourselves and think about the poor user who is trying to read it.

The ReadMate is currently on sale for US$24.99 on Amazon.

Satechi’s Flexible LED Desk Lamp

The second item I recommend is again by Satechi. It is the Flexible LED Desk Lamp. Research has proven that by age 60 you need about three times as much light on an object to see it as well as the average 20-year old does. That old table lamp that someone is using out of habit really doesn’t cut it for those of us over 60.

The Flexible LED Desk Lamp is also currently on sale for US$59.99 on Amazon. I have been using this daily since April, 2014, following my initial review of it. You can view the full review  of this item for all the specifics. 

Flexible LED Desk Lamp

I like it because it gives wonderful light, is flexible, turns on and off with the touch of a finger, and includes a USB port that lets you charge everything except your  iPhone 6 or iPad.  Again with the small footprint, it takes up five inches (13-cm).

This lamp has five levels of brightness and I adjust it by pressing down and holding the control button. The lifespan of the lamp is over 40,000 hours. The flexibility of the lamp neck allows me to adjust the lamp so there is no glare.

iPad Holder For The Bed

My third recommendation is for an iPad holder that clamps to the headboard. Many senior citizens lose their strength or have arthritis in their hands, and that makes it uncomfortable or painful to hold an iPad for any length of time. On top of that, when you wear glasses to read—as almost all of us must do—you might have to hold the iPad at a higher angle when lying down.

I have used such a holder since the iPad was first introduced, but apparently it is no longer available. I went looking for something new that meets what I think of as primary specifications.

  1. It must clamp solidly to the headboard. C-clamps work well, but if your gift recipient has a bed with slats be sure your choice will work for that.
  2. It must be adjustable so that it still works when the size and style of the iPad changes. That requires the part that holds the iPad to be in two pieces that adjust as needed. Mine has been through several iterations of the iPad and iPad mini and it still works perfectly.
  3. And lastly, it would be best if it can rotate  180º so that the user can view the iPad in either vertical or horizontal mode.

Another recommendation is to avoid ones that fasten to the wall instead of the headboard. I found that the only way my wall could handle the weight of a well made product holding an iPad was to reinforce the wall in some way.

After searching for an hour, I only found one hands-free iPad holder with all the necessary elements. I have not reviewed this particular product, but if I were going to buy one today, I think this is the one I would get.

The Surmount  from Standzout has both an adjustable C-clamp and an adjustable tablet holder. It also rotates. It is currently on sale for US$69.99 at Amazon.

Bed mount for tablets

I hope these suggestions are helpful for those who want to give meaningful gifts to their parents or grandparents. They sure make my computer life more productive.