Even in the new technology reality of Twitter, LinkedIn, and “there’s an app for that,” many seniors (or boomers like my darling mother-in-law, God bless her) are still trying to figure out email. If you find yourself in that category, and your children and grandchildren have been pestering you for months to email them, check out PawPaw Mail.
This modestly priced service (an annual subscription sets you back a mere $50), designed for seniors or anyone unfamiliar with email, breaks things down to five simple functions: read mail, view photos, send mail, give feedback, and quit PawPaw Mail. With a clutter-free, streamlined interface, users simply click on the icon of choice and are immediately directed to the function desired.
PawPaw Mail was named after “Paw Paw” – grandfather of the program’s designer, Jackson Hughes. Hughes’ story was featured in a May 2009 New York Times article, published one month after Paw Paw passed away. Hughes, a Georgia-based software developer, wanted his grandparents to connect with their 4 children and 11 grandchildren (who were scattered across the country) more regularly. When he learned that Paw Paw was using his computer keyboard to file his incoming mail and bills, Hughes decided to take action.
Hughes designed the program with two users in mind – the caregiver and the older adult. This distinguishing feature allows the caregiver to screen incoming messages for scams or viruses and help the user build and expand their address book, tasks that could easily discourage inexperienced users from continuing with “that dang email contraption.” Brilliant, Mr. Hughes, brilliant!
If you want to send Grandma an email (or the latest photos of her adorable grandkids) but don’t have the patience to explain how it works (“It’s like the Pony Express… minus the three-week cross-country travel time and the pony?”), sign her up for PawPaw Mail. Even if she’s got the oldest computer on the block, the program will still run. KIT, Granny-style!