Q: My dad is 85 and still driving across the country. I was thinking about getting him a GPS, but he tends to shy away from technology that "seems complicated." Which GPS device is best suited for senior citizens?
–Elisabeth James, Seattle
A: GPS devices are hot right now, and there are a number of brands like Garmin, Magellan, Tom-Tom, and others from which you can choose.
For senior citizens, a good choice may be the Garmin. There are a number of models with big screens and touch commands that are very intuitive and easy to pick up for people who aren't technologically inclined. Garmins come with maps preloaded, so they are ready to go right out of the box with very little setup.
The spoken directions on the Garmin are loud and clear, and the words also show on the screen in large letters. And the device doesn't just help with directions; you can use it to help you find restaurants, gas stations, golf courses, National Parks, and other points of interest. The Garmin can recommend the fastest route, one using side streets if a highway's backed up, or another with the fewest tolls.
Check it out before you buy, though, because you may find that some models have too many bells and whistles. Depending which model you choose, prices are usually in the $140–$300 ballpark.
Be careful going with off-brands. You might save a buck or two, but interfaces are usually much harder to use. Besides, for your father, it sounds like simplicity is one of the most important aspects.