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My newly widowed Mom has a love/hate relationship with technology like computers and smartphones. She’s fascinated by what they can do, but is afraid she can’t learn to use them. In the first week or so after my Dad died in December 2020, (before any of us had been vaccinated) she was understandably scared and lonely. The only thing that cheered her was the prospect of getting and using the Echo Dot (Alexa) my husband and I bought her. She was under the impression that all you had to do was plug the Echo dot into the wall, and she’d be able to use it immediately. I explained to her that she (or more likely someone helping her) needed to connect it to another device (like a smartphone) before it would be usable, and since we were all in lockdown, we couldn’t visit until we were all vaccinated. Fast-forward to post-vaccination. I was scared and upset about walking into the independent-living apartment she and Dad shared in the last two years if his life. None of us had seen each other, even over Zoom, for a long time. Despite my having begged her to allow someone at the facility to set up and handle the technology for a Zoom call, she claimed that “wasn’t a priority,” so neither my son nor I had a chance to say goodbye to Dad. At least, I thought, despite everything that had and hadn’t happened during the worst of the pandemic, I could do one thing that might cheer her and make me feel useful: I could set up her Echo Dot with her phone or computer. Sadly, both devices were simply too old to be compatible with the Echo Dot technology. Mom doesn’t like the flip-phone she has, so I’d like to get her a new one anyway. She’s easily confused so I’d like to get a phone that is simple for her to use, but on which I can install the Amazon Alexa App. I have an IPhone myself, but I could just as well get her an Android or other brand. Any suggestions?

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I am with Geaton's post on advice.
I am pretty good with my silly little jitterbug phone. Hey, I can take pictures, make calls, and even (with a good deal of punching) send texts. As to the rest of the stuff littering the house I need to try hard to keep my 80 year old partner ALIVE so I still have netflix, hulu and whatever else I am "streaming". The computer? Well, I am here, aren't I? And on FB. But if he isn't around when things go South next time on this thing, you won't be hearing from ME, anymore. (No cheering from the mean girls, please!). I don't know how tech savvy your Mom is. Hopefully LOTS more savvy than I am. Wishing you good luck. I am still considering bumping up to a big girl phone on GreatCalls.
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Reply to AlvaDeer
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The understanding and utilization of new tech may be getting to complicated for her. Many IL facility rooms are wired for landlines and are a free (comes with the rent) service. It may be to her benefit to resort to the old fashion way to communicate.
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Reply to sjplegacy
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I understand that u can do video calling with Amazon alexa alexa enabled "show " devices
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Reply to clavecin
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i would not waste money on a cell phone. just get one of the big button phones with a hand set. you can even preprogram buttons and put a picture on them so all she had to do is push the button with your face on it.
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Reply to DILKimba
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What does she want to use it for doing? We have given up on phones as too complicated and too many options. A pad with zoom or facetime and nothing else enables face to face communication without too much confusion.
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Reply to TaylorUK
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Facebook Portal solves many of these things for you. It has built in Alexa. It allows you to video chat with all of your family and friends (if they are friends on Facebook) AND it will do a screensaver of all the pictures you have (even private ones) on Facebook. My dad uses this to make his phone calls (video or just chat) and he loves the pictures (I edited them with names of people, it helps his memory). He doesn't use the Alexa part very much or any of the other functions/apps. It was too hard for him to learn a cell phone. I did buy him a big button picture phone with a corded handset and that technology works for him. You can set up the Alexa on a Portal with your own cell phone, you don't need one for her.
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Reply to marydys
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The OEcho only needs an internet connection to work. If you have a phone, you can have the account on it instead of your mom having to learn how to use that, too.

(For chuckles, look up “SNL Echo Silver" to see the skit Saturday Night Live did about seniors using the “Echo Silver." It's hilarious and would have applied to my parents 100% if they'd had one.)
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Reply to MJ1929
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Midkid58 May 20, 2021
That skit!! I watch it over and over and my kids reference it to me all the time. We get a real laugh out of it, b/c it hits close to home.

Alexa can be a WONDERFUL addition to a srs home, but they have to WANT it and be able to handle the tiny bit of techie-ness it requires.

I have the base and 3 dots. I can listen to music all day long and as I don't watch TV, it fills the silent house.

Also, 'she' answers questions, which is a godsend as DH never thinks I can be right, so we turn it over to Alexa A LOT!!
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My 95 year old Mom (who has vascular dementia) uses her Echo Dot everyday to listen to music but she knows the word computer which she remembers (which one can change it to instead of saying Alexa). I synced it using my Ipad. I'm sure you can set it up using your Iphone. There are youtube video's showing one how to do this.

All my Mom says is "Computer, play Frank Sinatra" and it does. Very simple.
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Reply to JennaRose
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You will need to have realistic expectations for your mom’s ability to learn new things. If you get her a smart phone YOU will be her daily tech support. My 92-yr old mom can’t remember to say “Alexa” and then ask it whatever. I put a note on the Dot but doesn’t always help her.

Then there’s understanding to not be touching the screen, the scammers on the internet, the many apps. Search online Alz+smartphones to find adaptive smart phones for people with cognitive impairment. The Dot may not be possible for her to learn. Or you can get her a tablet loaded with games but no internet access (parental blocking). That’s what my mom has.
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Reply to Geaton777
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