My Grandparents Got an iPad?

A few months ago during the holidays, I made a quick trip back home to Northern California to visit my family.  It was pretty routine in terms of trips back home – my mom lectured me about gaining weight, my dad claimed he can still beat me in golf (maybe he should attend Keiro’s Memory Kai class) , and my brother continued to find ways to outshine me in every way possible.  However what I hadn’t expected was to come home to find that my grandparents were owners of a brand new iPad.  Now don’t get me wrong, I love my grandparents but I didn’t think they had a desire to get an iPad, let alone know what to do with it.  After all, these are my grandparents, who go for walks at the same time every morning and go gambling every week.  Where, let alone how, would they fit an iPad into their daily routines? Turns out that a family member had gotten one for them, and it had unfortunately been sitting in the box since they received it.  According to them, their iPad had two purposes, as a paperweight for their mail and to play solitaire.


My mom showing my grandparents something on their iPad

Fortunately for my grandparents’ sake, they aren’t alone when it comes to some people’s perception of what an iPad can and cannot do.  Recently, as part of Keiro’s effort to provide high quality, high impact programs for older adults in our community, we have begun offering ‘Introduction to iPad’ courses throughout Southern California.  These courses have been taken by community members with all different levels of iPad familiarity.  Some are able to do simple tasks like send e-mails, while others begin by learning how to turn the iPad on.  Regardless of how comfortable they are going into the class, everyone has been able to walk away with newfound knowledge and appreciation for what an iPad can do for them.  Participants have shared stories with us of being able to FaceTime their grandchildren who are away at college, send pictures and videos to their family members via e-mail and text, and even one lady who had downloaded Yelp on her own and used it to take her friends out to a new restaurant she had never heard of.

Recently Keiro has begun offering similar services to the residents of Keiro’s former facilities.  For the past month, Keiro has offered an iPhone/iPad clinic for the residents at the retirement home, where they can come in with any questions they have regarding their personal devices.  We have been able to assist residents with tasks they normally would outsource to their adult children (or grandchildren) such as logging into e-mail accounts, sending pictures, and even finding their Apple IDs.  However, many residents at the retirement home do not own iPhones or iPads, so this clinic has turned into more of a social hour where we have brought in iPads for the residents to try out.  Our consistent group of about 10 residents have learned things such as how to type on the iPads, how to find new restaurants in Little Tokyo by using Yelp, and more recently how to use Google Maps to find images of their old houses.  Because the iPhone/iPad clinic has had such an enthusiastic group come out every week, we will be offering the ‘Introduction to iPad’ course for the retirement home residents at the beginning of June.


Me helping a Retirement Home resident learn how to type on the iPad


Retirement Home residents showing each other where they used to live using the Map app on the iPad

Being the slow learner that I am, it truly surprised me how fast my grandparents were able to learn how to use their iPads.  It has been a great surprise receiving the occasional iMessage from them or even when they decide to FaceTime me instead of calling. (Although I think they stopped wanting to FaceTime me because they couldn’t stand how messy my condo is.)  Being able to communicate with my grandparents using modern technology has been a great experience for all of us.  I can only hope that after taking Keiro’s ‘Introduction to iPad’ course, older adults in our community and residents of our former facilities will have the same appreciation as well.


Me FaceTiming with my Ojichan

Keiro is expanding our reach from a focus on long term health care facilities to broadly engaging and supporting thousands of Japanese American and Japanese older adults throughout Los Angeles, Ventura and Orange counties. Keiro provides services to older adults and caregivers, along with programs for residents of Keiro’s former facilities—helping older adults in Our Community to age the way they choose.

Learn more about FREE Healthy Living Programs offered by Keiro visit


About the Author: 


Kevin Onishi is the Community Engagement Specialist at Keiro.  He attended the University of California at Irvine where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Health Policy.  In his spare time, Kevin stays genki by being an accomplished amateur food critic, a Golden State Warrior fan, and his parents’ favorite child.  Additionally, Kevin is an avid golfer and a frequent gym visitor.



2 thoughts on “My Grandparents Got an iPad?

  1. Same here. My children taught me how to turn on the iPad, how to send text and photos off my iPhone…how to keep track of me through the GPS unit on the iPhone…only thing now is that so many friends my age do not have this technology.

    • That’s awesome to hear your children taught you all those things! iPhones and iPads are amazing tools that help us all stay connected in this new digital age. Hopefully your friends can get onboard as well. If your friends are interested in learning how to use iPads, please tell them to check out our website at for information about our upcoming classes!

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