You need a smartphone. There is no better way to empower a senior with tech.
Nowadays, with excellent phones running from $50 to $100, and unlocked so that there is no monthly fee as long as you have WiFi access, there is no reason to be without one.
This is especially true now, since most functions can be handled entirely by voice.
If you do need to phone away from WiFi, plans now tend to cost $25 a month compared with $125 a month not that long ago. Go to Republic Wireless, Consumer Cellular, Pure Talk, Etc. If you're drive very much you may need additional data access to support traffic information via Waze.
Alternatively, you could do with a Kindle Fire 8 inch at $69, but limited to WiFi. This device provides access to Alexa and offers, such as an inexpensive subscription to The Washington Post. The Fire offers an easy method to have books read out loud to you. But no online access away from WiFi.
The biggest benefit of these devices is to get information quickly. This includes critical information about health issues, about traffic, and everything else. Where are available, you need online access to your health provider, such as Penn Medicine locally. Books, music, photos. Even if you are flat on your back.
For those who are intimidated, an iPhone is the best choice because of the support provided by Apple to new users. IPhones cost more but you do not need the latest model.
The largest smartphones are a bit too large for your pocket and the smallest a bit hard to read.
It is desirable to have as much internal memory as is available as opposed to expandable memory.
With prices so low now, it is desirable to have more than one device so that one can be in the charger as the other one runs out of juice. In the long run it will be cheaper to have two phones as opposed to one and a battery replacement down the road which may be costly.
You can do pretty much anything on a smartphone that you can do on a PC. Yes, that does include spreadsheets. And usually the software is much easier to use than older PC software, with all its headaches.
With a Chromecast or Fire TV stick you can use your TV as a display. For the Fire TV stick get the voice input controller for easy voice use of all the functions you can also add to your TV.
These sticks run about $40 or less on sale.