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He watches TV when not taking part in the few activities at the long term care home. It is challenging enough to get him a to press the on/off button on the remote. We got him a remote that has "On/Off" written on it and that helped. I have a tablet and looked for many video players but none are customizable enough. He doesn't remember 2 vertical lines mean pause. He needs the word "pause". Also the slider button is there and he will inadvertently tap it. Right now he is stuck watching the movie channel. No way could he handle a netflix interface. He doesn't change channels either.

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John, yikes you are light years ahead of what I know about modern technology. It is interesting what you can do from home to help your Dad.

Any time I call a computer help desk, they might as well be talking in Klingon. And here many light years ago, I use to teach how to use our office DOS software. And my Dad use to write code onto flippy discs. Eventually it got to a point where he couldn't remember the steps to open up his email :(
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I found the solution. I plan to use an Android computer tablet running Airdroid software. If the device is not turned off or rebooted, I can connect to from my laptop to do many things. For example, my Dad watches movies. My one tablet has an HDMI out so it connects to the TV. At any time I can add a movie or log him into Netflix to watch a show I think he might like. I can even show him a video of the kids I just recorded. When left on his own he need only tap the screen to pause/play. Note I tape right on the tablet screen "Tap to pause or play". A screen saver turns the screen off. He doesn't have the technical capacity to change channels on a TV. Turning it on is a big enough struggle. Therefore with some adjustments, I can make it impossible to do anything but pause or play. Adjustments like turning off swiping actions that will allow one to change the volume.
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Thanks for your response. My Dad does not have Alzheimer's but has never been good with technology. He watches The Turner movie classics and can tell me who the main actors are, like James Stewart, Cary Grant, Gregory Peck, etc. He just doesn't have the good sense to change the channel once in a while. The answer is in technology, like remote access to his tablet. I'll post my this to a technology site.
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Your dad has dementia, is that right?

It so, I might sit with dad and observe just how he is watching things on tv. If he has cognitive decline or dementia, his tv perception may be quite different than it used to be or what your standards are. We have to adjust our idea of the types of things we might need if we were in their situation. They see things differently though.

With my cousin's dementia, I had to adjust to the idea that her ability to focus and process the tv content was severely effected. Before dementia, she loved tv shows, including, series, sports, movies, etc., however, the dementia robbed her. While I pushed to get her tv, cable, easy basic remote, etc. SHE EVENTUALLY NO LONGER GOT PLEASURE from it. She was just not that interested and she forgot what she watched, so, everything she watched was new, since she forgot it a few minutes later. Then she grew unable to focus. So, I would suspect that just one movie channel is great with him. No need for all kinds of different ones.

Also, their initiative to change the channel goes and there really is no way to get that back. Sometimes, you have to rely on the staff to turn things on for them and then turn it off at night. Others tried to explain this to me and I didn't get it, until I saw it for myself.
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If he does have some form of dementia at some point learning new things becomes impossible. A new phone, tv remote etc. It just ain't gonna happen. I got my folks new cordless phones, exactly like their old one, buttons in the same places only bigger and backlit, and OMG, what a nightmare. I'm praying their old micro wave doesn't die anytime soon.
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Poor guy, in a long term facility involved in a few activities and watching tv. Is he really living, or more likely, "existing"?
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Mom eventually gave up TV completely, she could not follow the story line on anything. She still enjoyed music and listened to NPR radio all the time. Give that a try.
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John, for the first time ever my late Dad had cable TV when he moved to Independent Living.... I was so happy as I thought he could watch Turner Classic Movies, watch the Weather Channel, etc..... no, instead Dad always had the channel set to the "local" 24 hour news channel. Same as he had at prior to moving.

Whenever I would visit Dad, I would check the weather channel as Dad loved to watch tornadoes and that station would have some of those storm chasers. Nice change of pace.

At least Dad's TV would shut off automatically after 2 hours if he doesn't touch the remote. So at night, no waking up to turn the TV off. Forget the CD or DVD players, too complex.

Oh well, it was his TV, his choice what he wanted to watch. Guess that 24-hour news channel was a routine he had when he lived at his house.
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John, your profile has that your father suffers from depression and is in a nursing facility. Does he also have dementia? From what you wrote above, he is severely incapacitated. There comes a stage where we do what we can to let them be as comfortable as possible. Does he like watching the movie channel? I know his life seems very limited now, but we have to change the way we think about it. If it is only depression, finding some way to lift his mood may help. If the dementia is incapacitating, the NH staff may find some way to engage him more, but I don't think new technology is the answer. Something physical could be more useful, but there are facility constraints there.

Sorry, I know this is not a particularly useful answer. We can be stuck deciding if more can be done or if this is as good as it's going to get. You know him, so probably have a better idea than we would.
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