Yeah, it was a metric ton of money but thus far worth every penny. My mother is home-bound and my Dad is her primary caregiver. He greatly enjoys the iPad and has had no trouble using it. He has virtually abandoned his old Mac G5 tower. The iPad is a great social connection to his remaining college chums and keeps him in touch with the grandchildren on Facebook. He loves to play various word games like "Words with Friends."
To be fair, this could all be done with a modern Android-based tablet and I don't think my Dad would have any trouble with it but honestly I'm not going to change horses mid-stream. But the huge app base for iOS helps greatly plus a good deal of my brothers and sisters plus their children have iPads so things are just easier. I never thought I'd advocate for monoculture like this (or even appear to) but this has brought a great deal of joy into my Father's life as my Mother's health has gone downhill over the past few years. This alone has made the iPads worth every penny.
My advice: look at an iPad first but whatever you do don't cheap out.