Over the years, I have been providing computer support for my mother. We have used a few desktop units and have been through a few learning curves. My mom is now at a retirement facility and at 98 is still going strong and is sharp as a tack (I know I am very blessed about this). In the latest upgrade cycle, I thought it would be fun to do a small experiment first and test her out with a Raspberry Pi 3B. Since most of the work she does is web surfing (YouTube and Ted Talks), email, and document writing, I thought it would be interesting to see if the Pi could handle her workload.
I shouldn't be surprised, but not only is it capable of her needs, she is so happy with it, she has been a walking advertisement at the retirement home. I think this is a market with extremely high potential. The price tag for a startup kit (Pi, cables, keyboard/mouse, and flat panel monitor) is at least half that of a low end laptop, and the convenience and ease of support make it ideal for a community of elders. There are other, social, advantages that can be realized as well. Training classes are already established for the younger crowd, but will also work well for seniors. It can also be fun to have younger people (middle school) work with the seniors on projects of interest. This is the pebble in a pond approach. When younger people and seniors are brought together to work on a task, very often the details of the task become a smaller and smaller part of what is discussed.
Aside from that, if a retirement community is thought of as a classroom, then all the "solutions" that are done with one, can be used by the other. Networking is easier, server management and central data store is super simple. Scaling up is rarely necessary, because everything is distributed already to the individuals. I wish I had time to increase the scope of my experiment, but I just wanted to let the community know about my experience, and to let you know my pleasure with the whole Raspberry Pi initiative.