Follow
Share

FB is just not an option. Smart phones are not an option. We need an option.

I gave him an Ipad and he used it as a coaster for his coffee cup until he thew it away with the trash. Are there any passive alternatives that do not require my father to use technology?

He still lives at home with assistance and would benefit from some regular family interaction. I need something that works with out me being there to make it work.

- Paul

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.
Update: The family has been using this for a few weeks now and it really is an answer to all of our needs. There are about 11 or 12 people who are send something nearly everyday to his TV and I send text messages every few hours. He really reads them and reacts to them.
PaulofM0
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Here is an update:

We have started using this and it works as described. Some of it is a bit clunky but not difficult. I can send pictures, video clips, and text messages directly to his TV and he readily watches it and responds.

Several family members are posting everyday and like it as well.

The owner of the company does not want to share any information until he works out some of the bugs. He also wants to be sure he can deliver the service to more than just a few people. They are excited and helpful and just want to do it right. I have invited them to post here when ready. He said it would be a few more weeks.

Thanks to everyone who helped.

PaulofM0
Helpful Answer (4)
Report

I just talked at length with the lady that is using it. I asked her your questions.

She described her loved one as having moderate dementia.

Because it is easy to add items and remove items, as the decline progresses what plays on the TV can be simplified. She says at some point it will be reduced to just a scrolling and silent slideshow of old family pictures.

Once on the family content channel it never seems to be changed back to regular TV. The presentation includes a scrolling weather feed and that is all he watches the news for. Regular TV is vulgar to him and is upsetting - she is very happy he is not watching it much anymore.

It is passive and one way but if he see's or reads something that he wants to comment on he just makes a call. They got him a phone with the persons pictures on the speed dial buttons. So far this has not been an issue as far as the number of calls he makes. She has been surprised by how appropriate the few calls he makes are.

It is as easy as claimed - she takes a picture on her phone and hits share. Within a minute or two it is on his TV. Texting works from her Sprint phone but not from her sisters Verison phone. Her sister sends emails from her phone instead and her text scrolls on his TV just fine.

He responds to the text reminders almost every time and is eating more and walking the halls more.

When she visits the content added by her scattered family has generated wonderful memories and sparked new conversations with him. He has shared stories that she did not know about.

She was charged the same amount as his commercial pricing per his website - $360 per year or $30 dollars per month and the family provided the TV. No install fee or hardware fee.

Set up was simple - he came out and plugged a small box into an open HDMI port and entered the facilities wifi password. Took less than 10 minutes.

She said the owner of the company was very thoughtful towards her Dad when he set it up for them.

So far the only thing that had to be added was an digital outlet timer to power off the little box at midnight each night. It has run flawlessly for over 3 months now.

They have about 400 pictures and have it set to rotate through the last 10 text messages. Deleting pictures is OK but has to be done from a computer and not a cell phone.

That is pretty much it. I have a call out to see what it will take to get us set up.

PaulofM0
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

PaulofM0, good idea for someone in their early stages of dementia. Example my Dad has age related forgetfulness with a tiny bit of dementia plus he has his own routine.

Everytime I visit him, which is usually 2 or 3 times a week, he always has his TV on the local 24-hour news channel or one of the other local channels. When I try to get him interested in the History channel or Discovery, he never goes back to those stations. And here he has cable TV for the first time ever, old habits are hard to break. At his age, forgetaboutit.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Paul that sounds great with one possible downside. As dementia progresses, to have the TV suddenly talking individually to the person might be scary for them, unless he/she knew it was going to happen and was mentally ready for it. So your dad wouldn't be able to participate, just watch, is that right? And he would see emails and texts? How about videos, can you send those too?
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I think I actually found something. A company got mentioned on FB concerning dementia support so I gave them a call. We talked for over an hour.

He has figured out how to give a TV channel an email address. His business clients can send pictures / videos / text messages directly to any existing TV. He has about 60 retail clients that use this for simple in store digital presentations.

One of his clients asked if they could try it for their father who has dementia. They set it up and it worked. All the father has to do is watch TV and all the family has to do is send emails and text. She posted about it on FB and it seems to be exactly what I am looking for.

She has not answered any of my FB messages but she seems very pleased with how it is working. The owner of the business is getting me in contact with her.

Right now he does not want me to put up a link or anything - he wants time to think this through. Give me you thoughts.

PaulofM0
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I like Linda's idea of personalizing the letters. I remember way back around 1990, well before the extensive graphics available now, that we used to use what were then very nominal graphics to highlight letters. My parents would winter in Texas and I'd send them letters with graphics of cacti, trailers, trucks, etc.

Graphics are so high end now that they're much different, but still brighten up a letter.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

They could use their computers to create "stationery" with their photo at the top (to refresh his memory of who's writing), print out their news in bifocal friendly font (clean, no serifs). They could include photos of the kids, grandkids etc. And the whole thing would be sent by regular mail.
Helpful Answer (5)
Report

I think I might suggest that the family members go online and research dementia, so they can get an idea of what your dad is going through. People with dementia struggle daily with things like eating, walking, bathroom care, etc. Communicating with others by modern technology is probably not going to happen. It would be nice if they could put the effort in to communicate in a way that is possible for him, while is still able. He is the key here. Not the healthy people. Ability to communicate often declines, so I wouldn't waste time trying to make him do something that he can't do. Maybe, education on the subject will bring them around.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Consider a printing email system. Basically the family member sends an email, the printer calls up 5x/day and gets the 'mail' and prints out the message. No computer needed, just a phone hookup.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

Since my Dad rarely uses his computer, I asked the relatives to send email to a new email account that I had set up for my Dad as his old account got too much junk mail. I think I got two emails in the past couple of months. The much younger generation rather use FaceBook so all they need to do is type once [I guess that is how it works, right?]

I remember how I use to put pen to paper and hand write letters to my Grandparents, and all the Aunts/Uncles. Amazing how much time I had back then to do those things but there weren't all the distractions and time wasters we have today. I know I spend way too much time watching TV having 500 channels instead of just 4 :P
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

One of my mother's doctors suggested she play words with friends to keep her mind sharp. My mom has trouble using the telephone. I like to idea of printing emails.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

My father is in the same boat - he can't see anything small but he has a 60 inch flat screen that he can see just fine. He no longer uses his desktop, it just does not occur to him anymore to use it. If there is something out there I will find it and let everyone know. - Thanks so much!

Paul
Helpful Answer (2)
Report

My Dad use to do computer coding years ago, he even taught others how to use computers. Today Dad's computer sits collecting dust, due to his eyesight and his slight memory loss, the computer has become too complex for him.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

How about Scype? That way he can see a picture he can talk to and family can talk back? You can do full screen so it looks more lifelike.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

What about a video phone?
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

I print emails and pix from everyone to take to dad when I visit. Dad writes notes to people and puts them in an envelope for me to mail.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Paul, this isn't specifically on point to your request, but it might be a possibility as an alternate to Skyping. It's the Tango application, but I believe it's only phone, not computer, enabled. I don't know whether it allows for multiple users simultaneously though, and I suspect it might be a bit too complicated for your father to use on his own.

I always find it sad that the FB crowd is so naïve or uncaring about the privacy compromises, the fact that some people just don't want to communicate that way, and the fact that the FB users expect other to jump on the social media bandwagon.

I also don't understand why with the proliferation of phones family members don't just call.

Maybe the 2 functions can be separated: 1. Your father can call when you're there - maybe once a week, every two weeks, etc., 2. The family members can work out a schedule to call him. That's fairly simple.

Another option is to send e-mail updates to the family, and have them each send e-mail updates to you for printing out and reading (and rereading) by your father.
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

I have done some exhausting web searching and nothing like what we need seems to exist. The Ipad and laptop solutions require interaction to work. The digital photo frames are expensive, small, and not "familiar" to my father. We are still looking and will keep you updated.

- Paul
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

PaulofM0, I am not a Facebook user but would it be possible for someone to print off the Facebook pages and mail it to your Dad?

Of course, the younger generation might need to buy envelopes and postage stamps... I am sure someone at Staples could explain what those things are ;)

My ex-Mom-in-laws loves to get cards from me and in return she will mail me whatever she can to write on. Her handwriting was getting a bit shaky so I printed up a bunch of large address stickers with my home address for her to use. Maybe print up address stickers for everyone to use.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

in the meantime, take some videos, (with his consent) for your family to see of how he is doing so they understand that it really isn't going to work, what they are saying.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

is there a way to get facetime to be cast to a desktop computer? I don't know, but I would try calling an apple store and ask them if there is some option like that.
Helpful Answer (0)
Report

He can take calls but is not as responsive as he was in the past. We tried a digital wifi picture frame but the service went our of business and it quit working. It was also to small for him to really see and appreciate.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

Thanks, very good points.

We are good with sharing information between each other but as you say my father is not in the loop and needs to be.

I bet most of our family would not be able to write and mail an old fashioned letter even if they had time to do it. I know it would be hard for me to develop that habit for an aunt or distant uncle.

- Paul
Helpful Answer (1)
Report

Wow, Paul, can you entire extended family be that dumb? Sigh. I guess it is possible. At least they are interested and well-meaning.

A good way to keep the family informed in via CaringBridge. But that would be a jounrnal you maintain. I did it for a couple of years to keep family informed of my husband's progress with dementia. I have a cousin now using it about her mother who has an unusual and debilitating disease. This leaves your father out of the direct loop, but it does satisfy family need for information.

I imagine you could set up skype for scheduled interactions, but that would probably require your presence.

I use FB to post pictures and stories about my mom, but again, that leaves my mom out of the loop, except I tell her about comments.

My three sisters and I keep up a continuous email conversation each time any of us visit, which is at least once a week each. This has been extremely valuable in keeping up with Mom's progress between our individual visits.

There are lots of ways that technology can help YOU communicate with family and friends about your father. As for him doing the communication without help, that is harder to imagine.

My mom loves sending out cards. About all she can do is add a signature and decorate with stickers. She has also colored a few cards. If your dad can still write and/or paint, color, use stickers, he may be able to prepare some cards on his own. Then you can add a photo of him, address them, and stick them in the mail. Not a fully independent activity, for sure, but a happy one. Then family can choose to use the old snail mail technology and write him back.

It is my observation that people with dementia, and house-bound old people in general, LOVE getting personal mail. They can re-read the cards or letter many times. It is also my observation that sending personal notes is an extremely difficult task for active younger people. Mostly they hate it and will only do it when prompted.

Can Dad still handle regular phone calls?

I am very interested to see what suggestions others have.
Helpful Answer (3)
Report

This question has been closed for answers. Ask a New Question.