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My dad seems to have a lot of trouble on his cell phone lately. He blames the phone but I think it is him. As an example I will call him and he will disconnect rather than answer. He means to answer so then he gets frustrated. He can’t seem to navigate email or text very well. I think he still sees text when I send but I’m not sure. So the question is do the senior designed phones really help? The one I was looking at is the lively jitterbug smart phone 3. But it would require learning something new even if it is ultimately easier to use. I live 4 hours away and really want my dad to have a cell phone. They have a home phone too but for some reason it is hooked up to a fax machine.

How old is your Dad? Does he have vision issues or arthritis in his hands or neuropathy in his fingers? Sometimes the problems are not cognitive but rather physical (my 93-yr old Mom has the same problem on her flip phone).

If your Dad's issues are cognitive/memory-based... I'm not sure getting him a new phone will help if he can't even remember *basics* on his currrent phone. Plus you will become his tech help 24/7.

Losing his phone will now be more of a concern as well, so maybe consider something like a tracking device (Tile) for it. Also, his activity on the internet where scammers and phishers lurk should she monitored. Unhook his landline from the fax machine so they will at least have some sort of phone service in an emergency.

I have not tried to get my Mom a different phone, even if it's supposed to be "easier". Easier is a matter of the person and situation. I have read on this forum that you can set up a monitor or tablet for them and then facetime or video conference your parents without them having to do anything at their end. This is a temporary solution if your Dad is steadily declining cognitively.
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Kmjfree Sep 19, 2022
Lol yes I am already tech support and those are long conversations that rarely end in a solution. Dad is 81 and definitely in decline. Technology is a huge problem. I’ll unhook the fax and maybe try deleting all apps on his phone accept basics. Probably not a permanent solution but may help some. Sounds like senior phones don’t help too much. Thanks for the advice.
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Disconnect the Fax machine if it is not being used.
That could be a problem if they ever tried to call 911
And as I read Geaton777's response that is echoing everything I would have said. So Just reread that response and imagine I typed it all out 😉🤣
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Kmjfree Sep 19, 2022
I will disconnect the fax. Thank you for your response. 😀
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Kmjfree, once the fax machine is unplugged from the telephone wall jack, your Dad can once again use his very easy to use landline telephone. For us of certain generations, landlines are ingrained in our brain. We can use them blindfold.

Landlines phones can be in every room of the house. When it rings, just pick up the receiver. Call is over, put back the receiver. So simple. There is no re-charging of the phone. And one would have a difficult time doing a butt-call with a landline. Most important, when 911 is called, the house address immediately shows up on the 911 dispatcher screen, thus if someone is having a stroke and can't talk, the dispatcher will know what to do.

I have a senior cellphone that I am ready to pitch out the window. It is NOT easy to use. The instruction booklet is 150 pages long, and is not written in process-writing form to help a person understand how to set up the cellphone. Plus, 90% of the time, whenever I pick up the phone my palm hits the Alert button, thus I need to scramble to cancel the call. And I have yet to find out how to pull up any voice mails, the instruction book has zero information. Don't waste your money.

No one needs a cellphone. I spent the vast majority of my life without a cellphone, and we survived. My parents spent all of their life [lived into their 90's] without a cellphone. Yes, nice to have in a car in case of a car breakdown since phone booths are now only seen in old TV shows. Most elders no longer drive.
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Kmjfree Sep 19, 2022
I’ll unhook the fax. My Dad wants to throw his phone out the window too! Lol!
i think I’ll skip the senior phone. Sounds like more trouble than it’s worth. He has an iPhone now and at least he is used to it. Wish there was a better solution for seniors.
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The OP lives 4 hours away.

Is it a fax machine or a printer all in one? If part of the printer, there should be a way to turn it on and off. I never hooked mine up because it meant using my landline or having a separate phone line.
Is there not a relative or neighbor who can go over and disconnect the fax line?

If Dad is forgetting how to use a phone that he has had for a while, then I don't think getting him a new one will help if Dementia is the cause.
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Kmjfree Sep 19, 2022
Not sure if all in one. I will have someone just disconnect the fax line. Can’t imagine what they would be faxing anyway.

Dad is forgetting how to use. The Raz phone mentioned by ainorlando looks interesting. One screen and 6 to 30 contacts. It would be really awesome if it had a find my friends kind of option.
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My mom didn’t understand her phone. Couldn’t remember how to use it. I lived in a different state. I had , find my friend , connected up. One evening my aunt called, asked me to check on her. I could see she was out on errands / grocery shopping. . Problem , it’s late, she is a diabetic. I kept trying to call her. She couldn’t figure out how to answer the phone. Some lady helped her. The store had to get her something to eat. When she drove home , I could track her. I had the neighbor help her in.. that was only the good use of the phone..

she still had a landline…
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When my mom was in assisted living I took her old turquoise princess phone to her. It had large numbers and was land line. It worked perfectly. She could not figure out texts or anything on a simplified cell phones for elders and she had been a telephone operator for over 40 years.
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I'm a proponent of the RAZ phone. We originally learned about the phone through an ALZ organization. Without it MIL wouldn't have a phone at all. She is almost completely deaf and can only hear certain rings -- landlines included. The RAZ is so visual and simple that it works. And the caregiver can choose features/control remotely.

www.razmobility.com
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Kmjfree Sep 19, 2022
The Raz looks pretty easy to use. I’ll check it out. I like that it has remote access too. Thanks for the suggestion. I was about to give up on a senior mobile phone.
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As soon as my mother was diagnosed with progressive dementia, or maybe even before that time, she started having trouble with her telephone. It was a landline. She convinced me it was the phone that was a 'piece of crap' so I bought her a new one, designed to be 'easy for seniors to use'. Well it wasn't, b/c she was having issues with IT too. And those issues just kept getting worse and worse as the days wore on. She started telling me 'the ladies voice is telling me I have to dial a 1 first' or 'the ladies voice is telling me not to dial a 1 first' and on and on, to the point of insanity. Then she started using her phone to turn the tv set on and could not, for the life of her, understand why it wouldn't work.

Then she started turning the volume off of the phone to the point where she couldn't hear me. And all I'd hear was her screaming WHAT??? into the phone over and over and over again. Then she'd push the wrong button on the phone and disconnect the call. And I'd call her back only to hear a busy signal for the next 2 hours.

Or then she'd forget to push the OFF button on the unit and nobody could call her at all; the phone would go directly to voice mail. Which she was unable to access b/c she couldn't remember her passcode which was 0000.

To say the phone turned into a living nightmare is putting it mildly. There were days I wanted to drive down to the ALF and literally tear thing thing out of the wall and smash it to smithereens with a hammer. But I didn't. Because I recognized the phone was her only means of connecting with the outside world on HER terms. But boy howdy, she couldn't get the darn thing to work so that she COULD connect with the outside world! Nobody could get through to her for a variety of reasons, and she couldn't figure out how to listen to her voice messages, which led to the 'nobody ever calls me' tirades, and there you have it.

The Phone Aggravation That Never Ends.

Wishing you the best of luck b/c I have NO ADVICE to give you on this subject. Except you have my condolences and heartfelt wishes for Godspeed on the whole matter.
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JenUA1 Sep 24, 2022
Experiencing similar types of things with my loved one. He calls the police because his phones “aren’t working” and someone has a machine to cut them off. We’ve bought new phones, switched phone services, etc. etc. He also manages to turn the volume down on the phone and we get the same conversation of WHAT? WHAT? I CAN’T HEAR YOU. Sigh…the phones have truly been the biggest nightmare we’ve had in trying to take care of our 89 and 91 year old aunt & uncle. So, I feel you!!!!
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My mom with mild/moderate dementia has a very hard time with her cell phone now, after using is successfully for many years. I looked at options for something easier but had no confidence that it would actually be easier. I have tried to teach her new things and it is impossible. So, we'll continue limping along with what she's got. We still have a landline and she doesn't do so well with that either. Oh and remotes? Yup, more issues.
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Same situation with my father. He has never been good with technology. Never did email or text. None of it. He could use his iPhone to make and receive calls, and liked to read the news on it but he would always manage to get it on some setting by mistake that would screw it up. Well along came ALZ and his iPhone was a nightmare. He kept saying his phone was broken and went out and bought a new iPhone. Even worse because it didn’t have a home button so basically it was unusable for him. I bought him the jitterbug 3 smartphone. I had high hopes, but honestly it’s still way too hard for dementia patients to use. They get frustrated and just start pushing buttons and make it unusable. Basically you don’t want a smart phone. You don’t want anything with settings that they can can access by mistake. You don’t want anything that is more than one button to make a call. Get the RAZ phone. It’s a picture of a person and that’s it. They touch the picture and the call is made. No settings, no voicemail, no internet. And the caregiver can control the phone through an on line portal. It’s really the only one that works if you want a cell phone.
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jbramwell Sep 24, 2022
Bought that for my Mom, had a landline installed. She refuses to use it. Wants her cell phone which she can handle some of the time. Whatever she wants, she gets.
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Try an old fashion corded phone. My mom is able to use Future Call Big Button Speakerphone Model FC-8814.
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I’m not sure what type of cell phone your Dad is using but I’ve found that the Jitterbug cell phones work well. They offer a few types of phones and use their own cell phone carrier. The buttons are large and it is less complicated to use.
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freqflyer Sep 24, 2022
sunflwrluv, less complicated to use? I have worked on computer software that was less complicated then that brand of cellphone. It doesn't use the KISS theory which many people need.
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Does he need a smart phone or would a phone just for calling and texting be enough?
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Kmjfree Sep 27, 2022
I think just calling and texting but I think as his memory gets worse the Raz phone might be best. It’s unclear to me if he reads texts anymore and I don’t think he responds. It’s awful when the brain slows down. My Dad was in programming back in the 70’s and very good with technology. He can still work his phone somewhat but gets mad it everyday and wants to throw it out the window.
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My mother had a problem with phone and computer. Both became too complicated for her . She now easily uses something called Grandpad and it has built in help but I can also regulate it for her.
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I'm another proponent of the RAZ Memory Phone. (Google it for more info.) It's saved our lives. The caregiver has a remote dashboard and sets up the contacts and all your dad has to do is press the circle with their face to call them. The caregiver can also control who is allowed to call your dad, so no worries about spam calls. You can set quiet times for the phone, set ring tones, and more. Best of all, for about $6/month, you can sign up for their emergency service, so if dad presses the 911-Emergency button (required by law to be on a phone), they intercept it and talk to him and contact the caregiver(s) first before dispatching fire/police. This is optional, but my hubby calls 911 thinking they're an answering service, so it's saved us from false alarms and penalties. Without the RAZ phone, my hubby would not have a phone at all, so I'm glad I read about it here on this forum. Good luck.
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GeddyLeeFan Sep 24, 2022
I've used several so-called senior friendly phones and all were too complicated for my mother until I bought RAZ. Seniors that have trouble with technology do not need TEXTS and cameras, etc.
Im all for RAZ.
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My father had the same issue. He aged out of technology. I vouch an echo and it is voice activated for calls, radio, reminders and even for some of the repetitive questions he asks all the time (e.g. is it hot out?)

He doesn’t go out with anyone he doesn’t know. During Covid he had cancer. I gave him an iPhone when I could accompany him. Told him to give it to someone if he needed me.
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My hubby had a nice Android phone, but never could figure out how to swipe the screen to do anything. Couldn't even figure out how to answer a call, see a text. So we got him a flip phone, where all he had to do was open the phone to answer. Still can't do it. We have a home phone, one of the captel phones that show calls on the screen and what they say. Check the settings on the phone, maybe it's set up to be a fax. Contact your phone carrier?
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There are now landline telephones that have "close captioning" which would be helpful whenever someone calls [like a teen grandchild] who speaks at warp speed.
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GardenArtist Sep 24, 2022
Warp speed - I hadn't thought of that, but that definitely describes someone I know. It's almost as if all the words have to be shuffled out of her mouth as quickly as possible, regardless of whether or not they can be understood.
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Nope, I’m sorry to say . My mom keeps asking for a cell phone. We’ve gone thru 3. Jitterbug, consumer cellular and I’ve forgotten the other. My mom has “mild?” Dementia and cannot use them, forgets to charge them, etc… went online and bought an old fashioned answering machine. The 2 button kind. Labeled with sticky note what to press. Told her she would never miss a call. Now this works for her receiving messages. So far, she hasn’t asked for anything about outgoing calls.Fingers crossed she doesn’t decide to want the ability for outgoing calls. 😑
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My mom must have tried 4-5 cell phones. And the ones touted by AARP are garbage. She NEVER once in 5 years of owning a cell phone was able to make a call on her own. And answering? Forget about that. If you really needed to talk to her you literally had to go to her apartment and find her in person.

She begged YB to please just turn her landline back on. For some reason, he simply would not do it. Well--HE was one of the ones who really suffered b/c every time she had to make any kind of phone call, she had to locate HIM and then get HIM to do it.

I know she missed long chats with friends and some family. But she never conquered the cell phone. Now she's gone and I am having some anger-grief. Angry at YB for being so controlling of her life and sad b/c I couldn't help.
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After a half dozen different cell phones including the jitterbug and RAZ mobility, I gave up and purchased an old-fashioned landline. Now, my husband can at least answer the phone when I call. As a side benefit, he feels more empowered instead of being totally incompetent and helpless. The time will come when he will probably no longer be able to answer the landline, but in the meantime, he is feels better about having a little control over his existence. Save your money and go straight to a landline.
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Yes. Go ahead and get him a very simple fun very very simple. My Mr. had dementia and he’s slowly lost his ability to do his cell phone too. That was the best solution.

PS however down the road you might have this situation to: eventually we had to take that from him because people would call like magazines and he’d buy everything
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My mom used the jitterbug flip phone when she behan suffering with MCI. She learned to page through a short list of people to call (mone was top of the list) and would answer as long as the ring was set to a old fashioned bell ringtone. Jitterbug also comrs with a "concierge" coverage where pressing one button puts you in touch with an operator who can then dial anyone in ypur programmed caller list for you. I recommend over the smart phone for anyone experiencing cognitive problems; its more like a cordless phone whick older folks are more accustomed.
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The phone on the fax machine can be used.
-https://www.faxburner.com/blog/can-fax-machines-make-calls/
-https://itstillworks.com/13640410/how-to-make-a-phone-call-on-a-fax-machine

Cell phones are not for everyone, especially old dinosaurs. Buttons, small print, spam and repetitious messages and touchy touch screens can be maddening.

Better yet, move Dad closer to you and give him the gift of time.
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Kmjfree Sep 27, 2022
That discussion happened about 4 years ago and went nowhere fast. I think he is headed for some sort of senior living but as he and my mom both refuse nothing will happen.
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Great advise but what do you do about the telemarketers? We get at least 4 of those per day and often get scammers as well. These scammers are very slick and professional and can easily fool your loved one if they are not wary. Plus these calls are a real nusance.
We have our phone on the do not call registry, but it doesn't stop them at all.
If you have a suggestion in this regard I'd love it. Thanks
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ainorlando Sep 25, 2022
The RAZ caregiver portal gives complete control against scammers. Only those on the contact and approved list can call into the phone, period. And only approved outgoing contacts can be called. There is no spam as there is no internet, text or scam call capabilities on the RAZ.
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My Mother had a cell phone and used it for many years. It got to the point though, no matter the brand or style, she no longer could manage it. We installed a landline in her assisted living apartment and the problem was solved. When she transitioned into nursing home care, there was a landline in her room. I feel the landline took my Mother back to the days when having a phone wasn't a challenge, which made her and also us very happy.
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My mom can't really see a phone to dial out. We got her Medical Guardian god forbid she needs us or it's an emergency.
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It is impossible to know for sure. I bought a lively smartphone for my mom. She used it for a short time but complained about how heavy it was. Eventually, she wasn’t able to use it. After that, I bought a lively flip. It is easier but she can’t use that either. It can be set up to answer upon opening so that is much easier and may work for you. My mom however always tried to read the screen and pushed buttons. She still has it but can’t use it. She has a sense of security having it with her as she walks around her AL community. We now have a big button phone with picture calling. Most times she can use that but also forgets how to answer even that. We have an Amazon Echo Dot and Alexa calls for her. We communicate through that when necessary but she gets confused and at times is in another room so it is hard to hear her.

There is no simple solution and lots of $$$ is spent trying to find it.
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Kmjfree: There are a number of supposed 'easy to use' cellular phones on television commercials. I say supposed because it may not be easy for the user. For the landline, the facsimile machine should be set to 'telephone' on the machine in order for the individual to receive incoming telephone calls. Otherwise the sender of the call is going to hear the 'fax tone' instead of the telephone call going through. The facsimile machine should also have a handset.
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Kmjfree Sep 27, 2022
Ya I think the fax machine should just be disconnected from the land line. I am working on finding out if they actually fax anyone.
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You should ask them if they need to have a fax. Not many people use fax these days. Are they still able to manage their technology to unhook the fax and activate their landline? You may have to help. You should probably try to visit so that you can assess your father's capabilities and see if there are little things that you can help them with, such as activating their landline. Having difficulty doing things that he used to do could be a sign of early dementia. Do they have a plan for a time when they may not be able to care for themselves? Would your mother be capable of caring for him if he does get dementia and for herself, and how about her? Is she OK? Hopefully their paperwork is in order, both of them need to set up powers of attorney for medical and financial matters, living wills and wills, if they have assets. Their POA should also be on file with Medicare and Social Security to be able to speak on their behalf. You can do this with a phone call with you and them on speaker phone. You should have the discussion with them on what their wishes are if they need more care at some point. Their basic choices are in-home caregivers or moving to an assisted living facility. Much will depend on their finances. They (and you) can also connect with a local social worker to discuss their options, if needed. All the best to you and your family.
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Kmjfree Sep 27, 2022
NancyIS that is all really great advice and I have tried to have those discussions over the years. No way they will sign a POA as they believe everyone is after their money. My Dad just came home from rehab for knee replacement and needs physical therapy but adamantly refuses to pay for anything outside of Medicare. We have discussed options and it is always a no. I don’t have a very good relationship with my mom so that complicates things. So I believe we are on the disaster plan. I try to help where I can but it is difficult.
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