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Old 01-24-2013, 03:57 PM   #1
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Phones for Alz

Hello everyone. I am sorry to have been absent for so long. Life really has been crazy. I hope and pray every day that all of you and your family members are safe and healthy.
Do any of you have a thought on a cell phone for my dad? He is having a lot of problems dialing numbers but would like to have a cell phone. His is too confusing for him. I've done multiple searches for phones that work for Alzheimer's patients and keep turning up with articles that do not help.

Thanks for being a place I can depend on. You all mean a lot to me.

Lee
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Old 01-24-2013, 05:22 PM   #2
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Re: Phones for Alz

Keysey,

I really have to say that cell phone is the worst of all among phones. My late FIL lost his cell phone the first thing. He never learned how to use it whatsoever. He even lied about it (it is a long story.) In the end, he used its back as a phone directory (we had some writing on the back.)
If your Dad has dementia or Alzheimer's in moderate or late stage, a phone is for sure a bad idea. Actually a house phone next to his couch would be the best one.
But later on, he would forget about the phone numbers and would call 411 to get even the most familiar phone number by paying 411 charges.
He would be able to receive the phone and answer it to the end, but he will not be able to dial properly unless he follows the numbers on a piece of paper one by one. He would even call 911 if he thought something is wrong by suspicion. If he doesn't call 411 or 911 yet, maybe he can use the house phone for now. Later, he will be too confused. Now he is confused already. So he needs a caregiver to help him to use the phone.
In the nursing home for demented persons, they don't recommend the phone in their own room because they would call 911 for nothing and cause troubles. So the nursing home suggests that families call the nurse station and they will find the residents and give them the phone to answer. It may sound cruel but it is better that they don't play with the phone calling 911 or 411 and etc.

Hope this helps,
Nina

 
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Old 01-25-2013, 07:00 AM   #3
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Re: Phones for Alz

Hi, Nina. How are you? Thanks for your quick reply. I should have added some more information. The reason I want him to have a cell phone is that there is no technology available where he lives to track him except a cell phone. I have looked into all sorts of things but the closest monitoring place is an hour and a half away and the local pd does not do any type of training for any product. He also worries about going somewhere and needing help of some type.
He told me the other day that he does not want to live with me because he hates my city. So he plans to move to NM with my older brother after the reunion this summer. My dad cried the other day and told me he is not going to call me anymore for help because it makes him feel like I think he is an idiot. I explained to him that I don't think he is an idiot and that I don't mind doing things to help him out. I also told him if he stops calling me I would fly out there and check on him. At that point he became irate and informed me he would be mad if I did that and he would lock me out. He did chuckle when I told him he can't lock me out because 1) I have a key to the house and 2) I'm as hard headed as he is. Things are really sticky now.
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Old 01-25-2013, 08:21 AM   #4
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Re: Phones for Alz

Thanks for the post, Keysey. I am fine. My late FIL passed away last year in early July. He was very bad and in severe stage - could not walk or talk. So he was gone due to heart attack or stroke in his sleep. He was 91. He rests in peace now because he would not want to live like that.
I see that you need to track Dad. I still think he would lose the cell or tracking device. I heard that some states may have some tracking device and the co. can help you. e.g., Virginia has something like this. It is a tracking system and your Dad may need to wear something so he would not lose it.
If he has a caregiver with him, it would be easier.
It is a good idea that he goes to live with his son. However, if he thinks he will be with his son being "normal", then he is wrong. His son will probably get crazy and side with you too. My late FIL had the same idea - to be with my husband and "worked" and "be normal". He thought the family can help him like that without realizing he was too sick already.
Your Dad does need help and watching. Just don't make him feel like he is sick or demented. Later on he will see that he needs more help.
I think you should let him go to your brother if he doesn't like your city. Now he needs to be with someone in his house. For now this winter, he is home alone. Maybe you can ask some nice neighbors to watch out for him. However, it is the caregiver's job to watch him and take care of him, not the neighbors.

Hugs,
Nina

Last edited by ninamarc; 01-25-2013 at 08:28 AM.

 
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Old 02-05-2013, 08:21 PM   #5
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Re: Phones for Alz

I have to agree with the other responders ... I don't think technology is going to help you. It *seems* like it will -- I went through the same phase. I tried cell phones, hearing aids, amplified telephones, electronic calendars ... and none of it made any difference. All that it did was frustrate and confuse my mother.

For example ...

I found a telephone I thought would be awesome for my mom -- she didn't even have to answer it, just say hello and it would automatically connect the call over speakerphone. She became convinced that it was broken, and that there was a lady trying to talk to her all the time over the phone because it would say "Speaker On" and "Speaker Off." She became utterly paranoid that this person was listening in on her.

It also allowed telemarketers and scammers to reach her very easily.

Just an example of how tech can be harmful even when it seems it will be helpful.

I've found what worked was regressing the tech -- like a very simple 4-button remote for the TV, and even a rotary that she can use to dial my number, which is printed in big letters right on the receiver. But most often she can't even remember to do that, or clearly understand me once she's reached me.

Sadly, all the technology in the world is no substitute for simple and constant human contact for an ALZ patient, at least that's what I've found.

I wish you the best.

 
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Old 02-06-2013, 03:51 PM   #6
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Re: Phones for Alz

Technology is very hard for those with dementia to "learn" how to use. When they truly need it, in an emergency, they are the least likely to know how to use it. That is why there are no pull cords or push pendants in a dementia unit. They either push them all the time or not at all... it's never appropriate.

There are GPS trackers that runners use but they have to be recharged and turned on so though they might be useful, it takes somebody else to help them remember to charge, wear, and turn them on. The same goes for the phone GPS systems.

Yes, there does come a time when it is more difficult to communicate and reason with a dementia patient. They can get stuck in a line of thought for days on end and the next time you check they have completely forgotten the entire conversation. It is difficult to convince them to do something different from what their mind is telling them. There may even come a time when you just have to do what needs to be done whether they agree or not. This is why it may be beneficial to get them settle early in the disease in a place where they can stay for the remainder of the disease.

Hopefully you will find a solution for your dad soon. The sooner the better

love, deb

 
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Old 02-16-2013, 07:19 AM   #7
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Re: Phones for Alz

Verizon has a phone that's senior friendly. It's color coded and you can program the phone with emergency numbers. My husband has a regular analog cellphone that he used to have years ago. It still works and seems to be the only one he can somewhat use. He knows he has to push the number 2 and send to call me. He's getting to the point where he doesn't know which way is the right way to hold the phone so he'll be talking to the earpiece and things like that. Technology doesn't really help at a certain stage.

 
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