My mil has brought up the topic and would like to get a tablet. She sees all of us using our cellphones and there have been times when I have sat with her to use it to do online shopping for clothing when she was in rehab.
She it not very tech savvy, and gets easily confused using her flip style cell phone and her cordless home phone. She did own a computer years ago which she used mainly for emails and to look up things on the internet occasionally.
I would love for her to have one, but I do not know if she will be able to catch on and remember what she was taught with her short term memory. I'm sure it could be great learning tool for memory with the games out there, but I know it will require alot of time to teach her how to use one. We will have to also rely on her caregivers to help in this department since I do not have that kind of time, also I can hear the phone already ringing for help when we are not there. I am in a quandary,
I still get phone calls for computer help from my mother who is in her late 60's and no memory problems and I just don't know if I can do this again without pulling all my hair out.
Has anyone had success in teaching someone with memory problems how to use a tablet or device?
Thanks in advance. :)

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Everyone of you have given me great thoughts today on our takes of technology. I remember myself in the early days of getting my first computer and being so lost and my then 12 yr old daughter trying to teach us. I can only imagine what she must have thought to herself and still today she is my saving grace at times, I am very thankful God blessed her with patience.

My first gut instinct when she commented on wanting a tablet was Oh h*ll no! Ok I have alot of patience, but I will have to buy stock in hair color and wine because I will never get thru this without alot more grey hairs and and a drinking
Joking aside I wish it was possible because I know she gets bored when she is alone but some of this is her choice since she will not get involved in the activities they have with the neighbors in her apartment. There is only so much time that my husband and myself can devote to her before our lives becoming none existent. We've been there and it took alot to get what we got back.

Thanks again for taking the time and sharing your advice on the subject. This forum is Awesome and a Blessing!
Take care of yourselves
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My Dad wanted me to get Mom a tablet/nook because of Mom's macular degeneration... I quickly had to find a good excuse not to buy one because Mom never mastered using a TV remote control if it had more that 6 buttons on it, no way she could use a tablet/nook.

It's sad that modern technology like this has showed up at warped speed without giving us a chance to learn technology... my Dad [93] use to write computer code and even taught students how to use computers just a decade or so ago. Now he is totally lost, and so am I.

Neither my sig other nor myself have a Smart phone... our flip phones do what we need them to do. If I want to use the computer I go to my desk top at home or at work... I don't need to know what Kim Kardashian is doing while I am standing in line at the bank :P
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If you decide to get her a tablet, make sure someone is always willing and readily available to help her with it. You will not be able to "teach" her how to use it.
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cwillie, I was thinking like you there are probably some good programs or games to help with concentration and memory out there. But without someone there to get her started and get it setup into the program she would most likely be clueless how to get there. It would definitely need to be a group thing to do which is defeating the purpose altogether. Thanks for the reply.

Eyerishlass, I have to agree. Wanting and doing it are two different things.
I have tried to let my mil just scroll through a set of photos on my phone and everytime she ended up losing the page and she became frustrated with it. If I am not holding onto it she cannot do it. I don't think the size would matter. Tablets are way to touchy for their numble fingers.
Thanks for your input
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I had a patient with dementia who would watch her niece use a tablet and my patient expressed interest in it. The niece asked what I thought about getting her aunt a tablet and I was honest and told her that I thought her aunt wouldn't be able to use it. I didn't tell the niece that I was almost sure that trying to use the tablet would be very frustrating for her aunt but that's what I thought. I also thought it was a total waste of money but I didn't share that with the niece either.

So the niece bought her aunt a tablet and encouraged her aunt to learn how to use it. The aunt was so befuddled by this thing that she had developed no interest in using it. We tried to encourage her and we'd sit down with her and take her through very basic functions but my patient just didn't care about it. She lived in a nursing home and by the time the niece realized that her aunt would never use the tablet it had been stolen right out of her room.

If someone has difficulty using a cordless phone or a tv remote they're not going to be able to learn how to navigate a tablet or iPad.
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Thanks for both of your imput and GardenArtist, no worries I knew what you meant. Pam, I know what you mean and we have been there right along with you. If she cannot figure out how to use the cordless to call she uses her cellphone and then we are trying to explain to her how to use it. A good old rotary phone would do the trick, thanks for the idea.
In moms presence we never use our cell phone unless I am doing business related calls for her, or if I am showing her pictures that her granddaughters out of state have posted on Facebook of their families.

I have heard mom say some of her caregivers are using them on their downtime after they are done with the daily chores while she is watching tv.
She has a Nook she's had for years that was a gift that she rarely used when she had her memory and still had a hard time navigating. I told her all she needed to do is to have a internet connection to use it as a tablet but she doesn't like that she has to pay the $30 a month to use it. Well I told her thats how it goes if she wants it, and she has the extra money in her budget if she decides she wants it. She is the type of person if she sees it she wants it or should have it, its always been that way. I doubt she would use it very often for emailing since she doesn't call friends or any other family members except her sons. She has been that way since we lost dad, she had quit going out with her friends and only is in contact with them when they called her. Since moving we have tried to suggest that she keep in contact but she has never tried.
Our garage is full of her belongings from when she moved here from CO and being in a 1 bedroom apt alot of her stuff couldn't fit. She has me digging through boxes almost weekly thinking she needs a specific item, even though I know she will never use it, she just wants it. This week its a stand mixer which she will never use and she doesn't have the counter space for but she wants it because she misses it.
Sorry for the rant, back to the tablet. I know it will cause frustrations for her and for us teaching even with written notes so I hopefully the topic will be dropped. I will contact one of her caregivers and tell her to pass it on and to keep the electronics in their purses until they are off shift.

Thanks again
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There are durable relatively inexpensive tablets marketed toward kids, and Apple even has some apps geared toward people with dementia. I think you would have to view it as more of a group activity rather than something she could use on her own. Take the time to get her set up with a game or whatever, then do your own thing while she plays independently. Your may find that she needs you to help her constantly, or she may take to it easily, you won't know unless you give it a try. Maybe you could see how she does on your tablet first??
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She only wants them because she sees you use them. So set them to silent and avoid using them in her presence. If you want her to use a laptop, then use a laptop while you are with her. Giving her a tablet with a touch screen will send her frustration levels skyrocketing. We had to take mom's cell phone and cordless phone away because "it doesn't work". We gave her a 1980's desk phone and she can cope with that.
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Third from last paragraph sounded a bit harsh; that wasn't my intention - I just meant just cease using the phones or tablets in her presence and I suspect that she may eventually forget about them.
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If you get a tablet with WIN 8.1, I doubt she'll be able to navigate it and would just end up being frustrating, although with step-by-help she might be able to handle some functions.

WIN 8.1 is a significant change from prior platforms and has a steep learning curve. It's hard enough for people who are tech savvy and don't have dementia. Even our friend who taught software programs admitted it's not easy making the transition.

There are a lot of hidden, alternate and not completely common sense techniques to using the smart gadgets. As users have said for years, some MS software is not "intuitive".

Your profile states that she suffers from a variety of conditions, including memory loss. You'd have to write out specific directions for a limited number of functions, and go through each step with her when you first teach her. If you're not frustrated, your MIL will be, and that could be very discouraging for her.

If she likes playing games, why not instead bring in a checker set, or Chinese checkers, or even dominoes which are probably the easiest game to play.

Or try showing her just once how to play an online game; that may be enough. I'd hate to see her get frustrated by attempting something too complicated for someone in her condition.

I also wouldn't use any smart devices in her presence. If you're not shopping specifically for clothing for her, the online activities can wait. Don't tempt her.

There's also the initial purchase cost as well as the monthly cost for online connection. Is that something she could afford?

But do try the board games and see how that goes.
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