$229.99 + monthly fee, vizitme.com Digital picture frames have been a hot gift for several years, but the newest versions, like Vizit, up the ante by enabling sharing. That means you can snap a cell-phone photo of the kids in their Halloween costumes, send it directly to the grandparents’ frame and they’ll see it before trick-or-treating is over. The initial set-up requires a little web know-how, but the actual interface on the frame is simple and understandable. A monthly $5.99 fee allows the exchange of 100 photos a month.
$99.99, ottlite.com This compact task lamp is well suited for reading, crafts, games, puzzles and other hobbies. Part of OttLite’s Better Vision line, it’s specially designed for patients with low vision and developed in cooperation with eye-care professionals. When folded up, the OttLite resembles a lightweight lantern, with a sturdy handle that makes it easily portable from room to room. The lamp can run on rechargeable batteries (handy for emergencies) but also comes equipped with a DC power cord.
$39.95, Microsoft.com You can’t put a price on being able to interact with faraway grandparents, but you don’t have to thanks to Microsoft’s very reasonable webcam. It records 720p HD, with a cinematic widescreen option; works with Windows XP, Vista and 7; and requires just 1.5GB of space. A sturdy base mounts to a desktop or laptop computer, or any hard surface, like a table.
$59.99, sharperimage.com For a hard-of-hearing parent or relative who lives with you or makes frequent visits,this is a gift that can help keep the peace, literally. A wireless signal allows the headphones to be used within 23 feet of the TV. The rechargeable battery has an 18-hour life, but the device automatically powers off when you take it off your head, so you don’t have to remember to do it.
$199-$299, mintcleaner.com Sure, the idea that one day robots might all take our jobs is scary, but in the meantime, why not let them do the dirty work for your less-mobile loved ones? The latest incarnation of scary-smart cleaning devices is Mint, which uses GPS technology and disposable cloths (like Swiffer) to sweep and mop hardwood and tile floors. (You can also purchase reusable microfiber cloths from the manufacturer.)
$28.95, $29.99, quirky.com Quirky.com sells inventive solutions to modern problems. These two devices aim to streamline the space below your desk or anywhere else that’s usually overrun with power cords. The Plug Hub fits over a traditional power strip to keep cords untangled and out of harm’s way. Pivot Power is a power strip designed to bend into tight spaces or around furniture, and also accommodates larger AC adapters and other oddly shaped plugs.
$49.99. moshilifestyle.com An award-winning design for the vision impaired, Moshi allows you to set an alarm and silence it in the morning using only the sound of your voice. It will also tell you the time, alarm time and temperature when prompted with a voice command. The clock has a large readout and includes a night light that is also voice-activated.
$119.95, keurig.com It’s the most popular one-cup coffee maker on the market for a reason. The Keurig is incredibly fast, compact and eliminates the need for clean-up, all advantages for seniors who live alone. While the proprietary coffee pods, called K-cups, can be a bit pricier than coffee by the pound, since you only make what you need, you won’t waste a drop. And bulk deals are available on the website as well as on Amazon.com.
You may not think of seniors as super tech-savvy, but they often can benefit greatly from gadgets designed to keep them safe and connected, or tackle troublesome tasks. Consider these thingamajigs for the older relatives and friends in your life.
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