AAARGH!!!! Technology, Seniors and Assisted Living OH MY!!!!

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Maybe I just need to get this off my chest, but WHAT GOOD IS THE ALF STAFF?!?! Seriously! Sometimes I think they only give out pills, deliver food and not much else.
Issue One: Why can't the cable company find a SIMPLE version of a cable box?!?! The ALF is on a converter system which means that I can not program the TV to the 12 channels Dad watches. HD cable and seniors DO NOT MIX!!!!! He's legally blind! He can't see to type in numbers for channels -- not that he would remember them. The bite size remote they use even challenge my eyes, and despite me providing a larger remote that I personally programmed to work with the silly cable converter box, if Dad presses the wrong button, no one in the ALF seems to understand how to get the big remote to work DESPITE the detailed instructions I have attached to the TV (laminated with a zip tie) AAAAAAARGH!!!
So, at least four times a week (not exaggerating), I get a call from a frantic Dad because the TV is "broken". The maintenance men, staff, etc. can't seem to fix it. It's ANNOYING!!!!!!
AND the cable in the building is quirky in general. It goes out regularly. I have a DVD player and LOOOOOOONG DVD's available, but the ALF doesn't have enough initiative to put in a DVD for the man. They direct him to the community room to watch the "big" TV. HELLO?!?! Your 55 inch monstrosity is on the wall. HE CAN'T SEE THAT FAR!!!!!!!
What can I do to work WITH the ALF staff to help me with this issue? It's not hard. Many of the CNA's are definitely part of the "Tech" age! I find it hard to believe that they can't work a remote control. At $5K a month, this should be included in the ridiculous "personal service" rate.


I was just thinking -- wouldn't it be nice if the TVs were like they are in hotels, with only a few channels that are favored. Old people really don't want that many selections. They want network, news, and game shows for the most part. Hundreds of stations are baffling.
I hear you. They replaced the lobby TV at my mom's NH to a flat screen that's too small and not clear (no HD). My current tech frustration is that I'd so love a cell phone that never needs charging and never turns off. Our new norm is panic situations because the power button was accidentally pressed or the battery didn't get charged and the phone turns off. I've tried calling staff to assist, which they do. But now, when they assist, she panics because she thinks it must be an emergency if I called the staff.
Tinyblu, oh good grief, a converter box??? Back when all the TV stations went HD, those without cable used a converter box. Dad had those on his TV's, the antenna was in the attic or with rabbit ears. Depending which way the antenna was facing, whether you would get a clear or fuzzy station.... [sigh]. My parents refused to pay for cable.

When Dad moved to senior living, I had to keep my fingers crossed that whenever Dad's TV didn't work, that he wouldn't go to his toolbox and start disassembling the TV, which he knew how to do when he was younger. It was always user error as the remotes were not user friendly.

Dad just wanted he 24-hour "local" news, and the weather channel. Funny, he had finally got cable TV for the first time in his life, and those were the only stations he wanted to watch :P

The maintenance guys at the facility told me the number one complaint on their list was the TV. So if they weren't plunging a Depends out of a toilet, they could quickly go to the rooms and fix the remotes.

Another grumble, the thermostat for the heat/air condition, the numbers were so small. Come on folks, common sense, if I had trouble reading those bright green numbers, how do you think my Dad could read them :P
Re: the tiny remote, if your provider is Comcast, try going to the local Comcast office and asking for a new remote, and make sure you tell them that the person you're getting it for is elderly and has poor eyesight. I did that the other day and mentioned this fact in passing, and magically they produced a remote just like the small black one my parents are used to, but twice as big! Hallelujah. Same button layout and everything, just bigger buttons. It's worth a try. I totally agree about the "hotel TV" idea, although the hotel TV systems are getting to be fairly complicated too. Whoever figures this out for today's ALFs will make a mint!
So, we discovered the cable issue this last time. That stupid cable box is plugged into the outlet that works off the many light switches on the wall. Somehow Dad accidentally flipped the switch.

Oh well... he was without TV at all for a day and a half, because I was NOT going to rush over to fix something the staff could do in seconds.

Dad said he asked for help, a few folks played around with his big remote and gave up. They said they would have to call the cable company.

I also didn't have the energy to try go get someone from the desk to go to his room and pop in a DVD -- something else that would take SECONDS.

Sometimes I feel SOOOO bad about getting frustrated with this situation. Dad needs supervision, and even though he stays cooped up in his room on the days he doesn't go to the Adult Day Center -- and complains about being lonely, I think he would be miserable if I moved him out of the ALF.

I tried that for a few months (an apartment with caregivers) and it was a nightmare! The caregivers were mediocre at best and Dad was miserable because he couldn't come and go as he pleased (he wanted to go sit on the stoop in the middle of the night and we restricted him).

I kick myself for not having the patience to have him live with me, but that was a disaster as well. It was CONSTANT cleaning (he pees on the floor because he can't see that far and refuses to sit), my power bill was ridiculous (he kept a space heater running AT ALL TIMES), he would get up in the middle of the night and pace ALL.NIGHT.LONG and I had to work two jobs with little sleep. I HATED it!!!

I just feel ungrateful. I'm too much of a "diva daughter" to take on the responsibility and complain about the "help" he does have. There's a fatigue and bitterness setting in. This is insanely expensive, and stressful, and the only help I have is the ALF staff which sometimes doesn't feel like help at all.

...Caregiving (if I can even call what I do caregiving) has made me an awful human being...
Tinyblu, not all of us are cut out to be a caregiver... and I found this article to help me a lot

Ah, wall light switches. Normally such a switch will only operate the top outlet of the box, not both. But the TV needs to be plugged in, and also the cable box.....

Check with Maintenance to see if that is how that plug works, if yes, then ask Maintenance if you can purchase a dual outlet plug where it plugs into the bottom outlet of the box and you can plug in 2 items, the TV and the cable... first ask if that would be ok as you don't want to overload that outlet.

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