Senior citizens prefer to live in their own homes. According to a 2012 AARP survey, 90 percent of seniors plan to stay in their own homes for the next five to ten years and 85 percent are confident they can do so without making big changes to their homes. In the face of those preferences, however, 35 percent of people aged 60 to 70 do not find it very easy to live independently and of those 70 and older, the share rises to 57 percent. “Aging in place” may be an attractive concept for seniors, but not always the best solution in the minds of family and of community caregivers.

Oscar Senior is a company created by Silicon Valley executive Tomas Posker. He was frustrated by the difficulty he had in communicating with his grandmother and helping her use technology, especially Skype, so that they could stay in touch. Now the company’s eponymous service, Oscar Senior, is available as a tablet app designed specifically for seniors who want to stay in their own homes.

The app has a simple interface with large prompts for usage and browsing. Security features protect seniors from scams, false alerts, and unauthorized pop-ups. An associated smartphone app provides family members and caregivers an easy and secure method to stay in touch, assist, and keep track of elderly living independently. The Oscar Senior smartphone app user configures the tablet user interface and apps. You can choose the apps available on the tablet so your senior relatives, for example, can easily share photos, phone and video calls and text messages, check the news and weather, play games, and even use Facebook or browse the web without needing to know much about the device themselves.

Oscar Senior is available now for iOS and Android tablets for 30-day free trials, after which the service costs $0.99 a month. Making it simpler for older people to communicate with loved ones and friends and access online resources has the potential to extend the practicality and safety of their living independently while at the same time giving reassurance and a means of access and monitoring to loved ones and caregivers.