When Senior Loved Ones Don’t Live in Their Home Anymore

There comes a time for many family caregivers when they must face not only the physical decline of their aging senior loved ones or perhaps the loss of those loved ones, but must also deal with an empty family home.

What should you do with the family home when your parents are no longer able to live there? Do you want to purchase it yourself and live there yourself, sell to another family member or sell it outright?

Cleaning out your senior loved ones’ personal belongings is wrenching enough without being forced to update and repair a home that has also aged. Your parent’s home may need many repairs before it can be put onto the real estate market. It may require costly renovations to make it marketable as well.

Many family caregivers find this more than they can handle emotionally, physically or financially.

Some Options for Dealing with a Senior Loved One’s Home

  1. Companies will buy your senior loved ones home from you and do all the repairs and then sell it. Generally this type of transaction is a quick cash buyout. Companies often handle the transaction within 15 days and will pay all closing costs and take the home as is. You can agree to accept the price they offer for the convenience of freeing yourself of the burden of doing it all yourself. Keep in mind that this sort of transaction typically produces a lower price in exchange for the convenience.
  2. Home moving companies can help you by packing up and moving your families’ belongings out of the family home for you. You will need to decide what items you wish to keep and which items to either sell or donate. You can have a yard sale or hire an estate sale agency to do it for you. Of course, if you move belongings you need to decide where to move them, be it into a family member’s home or into storage.
  3. If you decide to put your family home on the market and are doing it all from a distance, real estate agents can give you referrals to services in the area that will help you make this transition such as maintenance people, lawn care service, movers, bankers, lawyers, etc.

Actions to Consider During the Transition Period

  1. Pay the mortgage if there is one outstanding. If the mortgage is not paid on schedule, the lender can foreclose on the property. Many banks allow family members to assume the mortgage after the owner passes away.
  2. Consider talking with family members about what they think should be done and come to an agreement. This may save problems later, especially if there is a disagreement. Do they all want to sell, use it as a shared vacation home, buy it themselves or use it as rental property?
  3. Check your parents’ home insurance policy. Has it been kept up to date or has it lapsed for non-payment? If it remains in good standing, beware that insurance carriers are dropping customers whose homes are vacant for prolonged periods due to the increased risk a vacant home is due to vandals, liability issues and other potential events that can yield a claim. You may need to purchase a short term vacant-home policy to protect your assets until you make a final plan of action. If your parents’ home is vacant for 30-60 days, it could be excluded from any claim if the insurance company was not notified.
  4. Clean out the refrigerator and freezer, empty the dishwasher and take out the trash.
  5. Keep the home safe while no one is living there. If nobody will be using or visiting the home, you might want to consider turning off the utilities: water, gas and electricity.
  6. Stop the mail, newspapers and any other scheduled deliveries that could make the home a target if it appears vacant.
  7. Have someone visit the home frequently to keep an eye on things checking for unexpected deliveries, unscheduled papers, items in the mailbox, damage from a storm, fallen trees or leaves, insect or pest infestation, broken pipes, broken windows and other damage correction that may be needed.
  8. Have the grass cut during the season, leaves raked in the fall and snow or ice cleared in the winter and other routine maintenance to prevent liability issues and maintain an image of good home care. These also keep the home from looking vacant.
  9. You may consider having an alarm system installed so you will know if the home is breached.

Don’t Forget Legal Consideration

[You may want to consult an elder care lawyer to help you sort through the complicated legal issues so that you can protect yourself and your senior loved ones’ assets.]

  1. Have you talked to your parents about their finances? What were their wishes for the family home (often included in their will)?
  2. Do you know where the deed to the house is stored or other important papers? Do you have access to your senior loved ones’ legal documents? If they are in a safe deposit box, do you know which bank, who is allowed to gain entry and if there is a list of contents?
  3. Did your parents make a will, a financial plan for their assets, or a trust? Many people choose to prepare their own wills.
  4. Did your parents designate a financial power of attorney, an individual empowered to make legal decisions about their finances and assets on their behalf? Who is it and where is the document stored?
  5. Where is the home insurance policy kept, what company insures the home and where is the contact information?
  6. Be aware that only the person who owns the house can transfer it to a new buyer. If a power of attorney was designated, that person can sell the house if your senior is incapacitated. If no power of attorney was named, you probably cannot legally sell your parents’ home, according to elder law attorneys. You can apply for guardianship and then, if you get it, sell the home if your parent is mentally incapacitated without a power of attorney. If your parent has passed on, you typically must wait for probate to settle before you can take legal action.
  7. Be aware that title companies may not accept the power of attorney during a home sale and may wish to investigate it further before they approve the transfer.

Losing your senior loved one, whether due to incapacitation or death, can be overwhelming and we know the decisions that have to be made can be as well. Dealing with the family home requires help from others, such as family, lawyers, agencies and outside companies. Bringing them all together will take planning but will help you through the situation.

We wish you well!

We would love to hear your experiences if you have already dealt with this issue.

Mother’s Day Gift Ideas for Seniors from the Tech World

Mother’s Day – that day each year when we honor the women who made our lives possible (though we should each of the other days as well).

For many of us Mother’s Day is an occasion that leaves us stumped, not knowing the right thing to give the mothers in our lives, especially those who are older. We search hard for something our senior mothers and grandmothers will use and which will add enjoyment to their lives.

Now, thanks to the technology industry and the web, there are many great consumer electronics gift ideas to please those special senior women in our lives.

Senior Care Corner has come up with several suggestions for gifts many grandmas (and maybe even senior moms) will love and which will bring enjoyment to their lives, especially when they get a chance to spend time with wonderful loved ones installing or setting up their gifts.

We know there are some folks looking for gift ideas that are friendlier to your wallets so we’ve got some along those lines as well as some that involve the purchase of technology.

Wallet-Friendly Technology Gift Ideas

  • Is there a new smartphone in Grandma’s life? There might be, since many seniors are getting them because that’s what the providers are offering. Besides, many of their peers and loved ones (maybe you??) have them already. If she has one, Grandma just might welcome the expertise of a family member to help her set up her phone, pick the right apps – such as video calling – to make the phone more useful, and simply teach her how to make the smartphone most useful.
  • Is your grandmother on Facebook yet, or maybe another social network her friends and family frequent? If not, help her pick the right networks and set them up. Social networking carries so many benefits for our senior loved one but, as we are reminded almost daily, present many risks and cautions. Make sure Grandma understands the privacy issues with the social network and the implications of sharing information on it.
  • Does Grandma have albums or boxes of family photos she treasures? Give her even more enjoyment from those pictures by scanning them and showing her how they can be viewed on her computer or TV and even shared online. A little bit of time on your part will give her a gift she will love for life!

Technology Gift Ideas for Purchase

  • Does Grandma have a video gaming system at home? Many seniors are enjoying video games and giving their brains and bodies workouts while having fun. Besides the benefits of physical activity, your grandmother can keep her mind sharp and help her fight off dementia as she ages.
  • If your grandmother has favorite television shows, she might really enjoy a DVR (digital video recorder) set up to allow her to watch them whenever she wants.  If you want to really score, you might arrange and prepay the fees associated with a unit from her satellite TV provider or cable company.
  • Have you been thinking Grandma should get a new TV? Is her current one getting harder for her to see or is it lacking in some features that she would really enjoy? Don’t wait for her to do it — get her that flat screen yourself (or team up with some of her other loved ones). Chances are she’ll wonder why she didn’t do it earlier.

If we haven’t hit on the right idea for that senior lady in your life, hopefully we’ve helped get your thinking on that path. We’d love to hear any ideas you have!

Time to Play in the Dirt with Senior Loved Ones

Seniors getting dirty – really? Yes, really!

Many have lived their lives tending gardens for themselves, their parents or their communities or grew up on a family farm. Playing in the dirt can bring back memories, stimulate brains, provide physical activity, and provide engaging activities for caregivers and seniors.

The time is perfect to get out in the yard or your community and start playing in the dirt! The sun is getting warmer and the ground softer.

Whether you decide to dig up a large plot of land and plant vegetables or pot up some containers of herbs or flowers, your senior loved one will enjoy a new experience with you and other family members.

We’re not the only ones who think this. The Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found that the percentage of green space in a person’s living environment has a positive association with the general health of seniors. The more green space, the better.

Benefits of Gardening for Caregivers and Seniors

  1. Gaining self-esteem for what you can create. It could be beautiful flowers or food for your table. Starting something out slowly and watching it grow at your own hands will give your senior loved one and you a real sense of purpose.
  2. Working the dirt and planting a variety of different flowers and food can reduce your senior’s and your stress level. Communing with nature, listening to the birds chirp and insects buzz, taking in the warm rays of the sun will definitely bring peace and tranquility to your days.
  3. When you have a garden, it can increase social interactions when your senior shares it with people who are close such as neighbors, family and friends. She will love telling stories and sharing the fruits of her labor.
  4. The physical activity you and your loved one will do to dig in the dirt, plant seeds, water the growing sprouts, weeding, and carrying away the produce by walking, bending, and digging will work muscles and improve health.
  5. Eating the fruits, vegetables and herbs you both grow will help keep you healthy.

Tips for Gardening!

  1. Spring is the best time to start a vegetable garden. So, it is time to get started.
  2. Plan your garden. Get some gardening books from the bookstore or library and begin planning with your senior what types of plants he or she would enjoy. Do you want only flowers that can be cut to add color or fragrance to the house? Do you want to grow vegetables that you will enjoy eating? Do you want to use a whole plot or containers for the patio? Do you want to grow an herb garden and experiment with new flavors? This is the time to make a plan.
  3. Once your plan is established, it is time to dig in the dirt! Use a rake, hoe or shovel to loosen up the dirt. Turn over the dirt and mix in organic elements to improve your soil for growing if it is needed. Fill your containers with potting soil whether they are big pots, barrels or planter’s boxes.
  4. Time to begin planting. You can start with seeds or small plants. Follow the directions on the package or pot for planting depth, sun requirements and watering needed for healthiest plants.
  5. You should water to keep the soil moist; depending on the wind and sun you may need to water only once per week or more often.
  6. Keep your garden weed free. You may want to mulch after planting to keep the weeds down and the water in place. You may need to thin out plants if they grow too close together. For best results, you may want to fertilize your seedlings with a plant food to help them grow and fruit.
  7. Watch the plants grow, listen to the birds and the bees in the yard, reminisce with your senior about gardens he remembers and make each day in the garden an adventure. What was your senior’s favorite plant? Did he or she ever travel to see a garden?

The benefits of gardening for seniors are well documented. It adds quality of life to their days and health to their years. So much so, that there is a therapy that is involved with gardening activities for senior’s health. Horticulture therapy involves a trained therapist who works with clients on gardening-related activities to achieve specific goals. Therapeutic gardens have become very popular and now exist in many types of health facilities including public and private schools, nursing homes and senior centers, rehabilitation centers and hospitals.

“Gardening is one of the most popular home-based leisure activities in the United States and has been reported as the second most common leisure activity, after walking, of adults older than age 65 years,” according to one research study published in HortTechnology.

The time is now to have some fun with your senior playing in the dirt!

Seniors’ Adoption of Consumer Electronics – – and Family Members’ Role

While we hear and read much about seniors’ lack of interest in new technology, we also see a lot of evidence to the contrary. Feedback from our readers and listeners, as well as what we observe ourselves, gives us confidence that any hesitation seniors have will begin to evaporate when they understand the benefits technology has to offer them.

The feature segment of this episode of the Senior Care Corner Podcast – the first episode of our second year – focuses on one area of technology, consumer electronics, what it can mean for our seniors and the role we as family caregivers can have in making that a reality.

The 14th Annual CE Ownership and Market Potential Study, a very interesting research study by the Consumer Electronics Association, tells us a lot about the ownership and future purchase thinking about consumer electronics by older adults (as well as other age groups). Not surprisingly, older adults see themselves the least likely to make consumer electronics purchases. As we read and discuss the study, though, we are left asking if there is more to the picture.

When it comes to our senior loved ones and consumer electronics, we see a real illustration of one of the late Steve Jobs most famous quotes, that “a lot of times people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.” We believe that because we’ve seen it and heard it from others. How can we expect adoption of consumer electronics by seniors before they see there will be benefits of doing so?

We discuss how family members can play a big role in helping senior loved ones understand and appreciate the benefits they can get from consumer electronics. Whether it’s actually purchasing the devices for them, helping them learn to use a new device or even simply helping them understand the benefits and step up to make the purchase, family members can make a real difference.

Another aspect we address is how the consumer electronics industry can help us family members by identifying and promoting the benefits seniors can expect from their products.

News Items for Family Caregivers in This Episode

  • Graying American Getting Wired to Cut Healthcare Costs
  • Aging Gracefully Starts with the Feet
  • Changing Climate Could Be Tough on Seniors’ Health
  • Berries & Tea May Cut Men’s Odds for Parkinsons

Link Mentioned in This Episode

We hope you enjoy this episode and look forward to you questions, comments and suggestions for future topics, either on our website or on our Facebook page.

Podcast Transcript – so you can follow along or read at your convenience

Surviving Home Maintenance with Senior Loved Ones Aging in Place

The current generation of seniors has lived a life of building, fixing, and re-purposing before the green movement took shape. They imagined what was needed, created it and kept it running.

Asking for help to repair an item or spruce up part of the house is something they didn’t do and often still don’t do, especially if it means paying someone for a task they feel they should be doing (Home Advisor is one resource to consider).

However, as caregivers we know that there comes a time when an aging parent or grandparent should sit back and let others do tasks for them. Well, they don’t have to “sit back” and watch others do it. Naturally, being the supervisor of a household chore is also an important part of the job and that is what we should be steering our aging parents toward for their own safety.

When we perform home maintenance tasks for our senior loved ones, especially under their “supervision”, we get more than the knowledge they are staying safe. This is also an opportunity to spend time with them and sometimes a chance for the transfer of knowledge or family history. Many times a household task will remind our elders of similar scenes from their younger years.

Senior Safety Considerations for Home Repairs and Upkeep

  1. Keep off the ladder! Encourage your senior to stay off any ladder when he or she is alone at home. Inspect any ladders in the home to be sure they are in good repair, not wobbly or with missing treads. Discard any unsafe ladders that can’t be safely repaired. Always have someone standing by when a ladder is in use to steady it and react in case of a fall.
  2. Regularly search your senior’s home for frayed electrical wires or outlets that may cause a potential for electrocution or be fire hazards. Replace any small or large appliance that has frayed cords or plugs or have someone repair it if possible. Staying on top of any potential electrical problem will allow you to prevent your senior “fixing” any unsafe electrical wires your senior may notice before you do.
  3. Schedule a handyperson in your area (or yourself, friends or family members) to clean roofs and gutters at specific intervals, such as seasonally, to remove debris like fallen leaves, pine needles or branches before your senior decides he can do it himself. Keeping gutters clean and free flowing will reduce water damage in the future and save you and your senior from other repairs.
  4. Schedule a lawn service to not only do routine yard work when doing so isn’t safe for your loved one but also prune branches that might be hitting the windows or blocking the view or potentially housing unwanted pests. Your senior may decide to take cutting back the bushes into their own hands if they can no longer see the birds at the feeder or are awakened by noises caused by limbs hitting the house in the wind. Some overgrown trees can lead to invasion by pests into you senior’s attic (as we know firsthand) causing more trouble than you could imagine!
  5. If your senior’s home has a crawl space, inspect it at least annually looking for fire dangers, rotting floor joists, water intrusion, insect/termite invasion or other hidden dangers that might harm your senior. Older homes have been known to give way under the feet of elders if not properly maintained.
  6. Check all lights to be sure the bulbs do not need to be replaced. When you visit during the day to provide care, the light bulbs are not often used. However, in the dark of night when your senior gets up and finds that the bathroom light bulb or hallway fixture is not working is not the time for them to be looking for a bulb and standing on a chair to replace it. Turning on each switch to check them out in the daylight is a good safety measure that doesn’t take much time.
  7. When it is time to put up or take down storm windows, put up or clean the screens or wash windows, consider bringing in a helper to do the job. Be sure to be proactive so that your senior doesn’t try to tackle this hefty job before you line someone up to do the work.

These and other tasks around the house are things that your senior loved one has probably done alone throughout his or her life. Your senior may think they are still capable of completing some or all of these tasks, but for his or her own safety, this should be given to someone else.

If it comes down to hiring someone to perform work for your senior loved ones, we want to make sure only qualified people do work and that our loved ones are safe in their homes. If you don’t know someone or are a remote family caregiver, it might help to know that Home Advisor is a resource we’ve found to locate the type of help needed when you don’t know where else to turn. They may have good options for you to consider when help is needed.

While we’re at it, we suggest you consider taking some of this advice beyond senior loved ones — to yourself! You may also consider having a handyperson do these things in your own home while you care for your senior. It would help lift some of your own burdens and avoid some of the overwhelm that so often impacts family caregivers.

Medicare Basics for Family Caregivers of Seniors

Medicare is a health insurance plan administered by the federal government for seniors 65+ years old, people under 65 years if they have a disability or anyone suffering from end stage renal disease requiring dialysis or a transplant. It guarantees access to health insurance for seniors.

Medicare was established and signed into law by President Lyndon Johnson on July 30, 1965. Before Medicare was created, only half of America’s seniors had health coverage. Coverage at that time was either unavailable or cost prohibitive.

This social program also further influenced the integration of medical services since it did not pay providers who were segregated.

There were 47.5 million Americans enrolled in Medicare in 2010, seniors comprising 5 of every 6 people enrolled.

The more family caregivers of seniors know about Medicare, the better equipped they are to assist loved ones and assure they are receiving all the benefits to which they are entitled.

Types of Medicare Coverage

There are several “parts” of Medicare that provide coverage for specific services your senior may receive.

  1. Medicare Part A (Hospital Insurance) helps cover your inpatient care in hospitals. Part A also helps cover skilled nursing facility, hospice, and home health care.
  2. Medicare Part B (Medical Insurance) helps cover doctors’ services and outpatient care. Part B also helps cover some preventive services to help maintain your health and to keep certain illnesses from getting worse.
  3. Medicare Part C (Medicare Advantage Plans)(like an HMO or PPO) is a health coverage choice run by private companies approved by Medicare. It includes Part A, Part B, and, usually other coverage including prescription drugs. These plans must cover medically-necessary services. However, plans can charge different copayments, coinsurance, or deductibles for these services.
  4. Medicare Part D (Prescription Drug Coverage) helps cover the cost of prescription drugs. This coverage may help lower your prescription drug costs and help protect against higher costs in the future.

Did you know that:

  • Medicare is basically mandated? If you refuse Medicare you can’t collect Social Security benefits.
  • The average benefit per enrollee is $11,762?
  • You can’t pay cash for services covered by Medicare unless your doctor chooses to opt out of the Medicare program? It prohibits agreements between doctors and patients.
  • Your senior is automatically enrolled in Part B unless he refuses? If you choose later to join, you will pay a 10% higher rate
  • Medicare does not pay for hospitalizations longer than 150 days and does not put a cap on your out of pocket expenses?
  • Medigap plans are available to help handle additional out of pocket costs?

Learn about the benefits to which your senior is entitled so that you will participate fully in the program.

For more information about Medicare, you might want to check out their handbook “Medicare & You,” or visit them on the web.

DNR / Advance Directives Reminder – National Healthcare Decisions Day

How many times have we disagreed with the choice made in a TV show or movie when someone is so sick or injured that a decision has to be made whether to keep them alive on life support or let them go?

Have you said “I wouldn’t want that to happen to me” or “if I’m in that situation I hope they do the same for me”?

Have you done anything to document your desire or told those nearest you?

Would you know what to do if it were a senior loved one in that situation — what they would want you to do if they are not able to make their wishes known at the time?

Seniors’ End of Life Wishes

More than 70% of Americans told Pew Research, in a 2005 survey, they had given thought to their end of life medical decisions, with half of those saying they had given it a great deal of thought.

Do you know how your senior loved ones feel about those decisions? The 2005 Pew survey heard these responses when asking what people would tell their doctor.

  • 56% of seniors said they would want treatment stopped if in a great deal of pain as a result of disease and had no hope of improvement
  • 46% of seniors said they would want treatment stopped if unable to function day to day as a result of disease and had no hope of improvement
  • 50% of seniors said they would want treatment stopped if they had a disease that made them totally dependent on a family member for care

Only 27%, 35% and 29%, respectively, of seniors said they would tell their doctor to save their lives in those situations. Interestingly, even higher percentages of those aged 50 to 64 (many of whom are now seniors themselves) said they would want treatment stopped in those situations.

Knowing how we want those end of life decisions handled is not enough, since so many facing those situations are not in a position to speak for themselves.

Document Wishes in a DNR or Advance Directive

It is certainly important to explain these wishes with those who are closest but in order to have those wishes honored by healthcare providers and facilities it is often necessary to make a legally binding declaration in advance. That is typically done in what is called Advance Directives, DNR or a Living Will.

A nationwide effort of organizations in the U.S to highlight the importance of advance healthcare decision making has culminated in the designation of April 16 as National Healthcare Decisions Day.

If you haven’t done so already, you might use this occasion as a conversation starter with your senior loved ones so you can find out how they feel. Don’t stop with the talk, though. Urge them – or even help them – to get their wishes documented in a legally enforceable way. Your attorney can help you to do so and often local organizations will have the information you need. If you would rather do it yourself but want to make sure the wishes are made legal, we suggest checking out what LegalZoom has to offer. Many find them to be an effective and lower cost alternative to consulting an attorney.

If you had that discussion with your senior loved ones some time ago, you might still use National Healthcare Decisions Day as a reason to check and see if they still feel the same way. If their wishes have changed, be sure the current wishes are reflected in their advance directives or living will to be sure those are followed rather than those they put in place previously.

We wish you the best in these discussions with your senior loved ones – – and hope they are not needed for some time.

Celebrating People in Action – National Volunteer Week

National Volunteer Week, April 15-21, is about inspiring, recognizing and encouraging people to seek out imaginative ways to engage in their communities.

Celebrating People in Action, captures the meaning of this signature week:

Honoring the people who dedicate themselves to taking action and solving problems in their communities.

Established in 1974, National Volunteer Week has grown exponentially in scope each year, drawing the support and endorsement of all subsequent U.S. presidents, governors, mayors and other respected elected officials.

This year, Points of Light Institute is also honored to recognize the third anniversary of the Edward M. Kennedy Serve America Act and the creation of the Volunteer Generation Fund through a series of celebratory and service events across the nation.

Celebrating People in Action, presents an opportunity for individuals, families, nonprofit organizations and government entities alike to celebrate the ordinary people who accomplish extraordinary things through service.

National Volunteer Week embodies the energy and power volunteers evoke on a daily basis as they lead by example—not only encouraging the people they help, but motivating others to serve as well.

Thank you to all those who volunteer in their communities and make a difference every day!

Senior Smartphone Adventures: A Love-Hate-Love Story

As family caregivers of senior adults, we know how important it is to make use of technology in our senior’s day to day lives. It can help keep them safe, keep them engaged with distant friends and relatives, entertain them, stimulate their brains and give us piece of mind about their health and safety.

The difficulty comes not only in getting technology into the hands of our seniors but, at least as importantly, helping them learn to use it correctly before they give in to frustration. It is apparent that we must be willing to be involved as advisers before the purchase, teachers after the purchase and coaches/troubleshooters for use of the technology in the future.

Recently one of our parents obtained a new iPhone, the latest greatest technology to become connected.  Naturally, the phone that was owned previously was about 15 – 20 years old and didn’t do anything but send and receive phone calls. It was so old it had to be replaced because it couldn’t be charged anymore.

Off to the phone store our senior loved one goes! The iPhone was selected because it was the one the provider’s upgrade credit covered and not necessarily the best fit for what was needed or even desired. Home he goes with a new toy! Oops, he has no instruction manual to figure out how to turn on the phone! Ok, he goes online and get the owner’s manual after a few hours struggling to figure out which phone and which owner’s manual was the one that would do the trick.

After we called his cell phone several times without getting any response, we ended up having to go to our senior’s house and give an in-person tutorial because it “can’t be answered.” Whew!! Finally everyone knows how to answer the phone. Together we updated the settings in the phone and picked ringtones for incoming calls, text messages and emails. We figured out how to add dates to the calendar, enter each contact name and information separately (remember this was not in the old phone and couldn’t be easily transferred over), and made the screen show the stock market scroll. We learned how to go to the app store and load a weather app so we could keep track of the weather in every city and state where we have family members. We tried to Facetime with the grandkids but that was a complete bust because we didn’t have the WiFi set. Oops, here we go again back to the owner’s manual!

There was such excitement associated with purchasing this cell phone and then it quickly turned into frustration over the difficulty getting it to work. The expectation was that you turned on the phone and it started. The multitude of settings and apps and programming that was required just to get it to baseline without adding in all the things we take for granted and use everyday was overwhelming for our senior.

Just understanding the tactile usage was confusing.  The impression is that it is the same as the old phone that requires a push on the button. Our parent was pushing hard on the answer button but unable to answer the phone. When our personal tutorial covered soft, gentle touch using a sliding motion to answer the phone or turn it on, things were a bit easier — most times. The motion to enlarge the screen—let’s not go there yet!

My fear was that the phone would be abandoned in the first few days of ownership. But with lots of time spent together setting it up, using the functions, making fake phone calls, learning how to text (we still haven’t mastered Facetime) and just figuring out how to get it out of the holster and answered before the call times out, we are finally feeling confident in the new technology.

There is a sense of accomplishment and perhaps even a sense that he is not as old a dog as he thought and can still learn new tricks. He can now brag to his phone buddies how he can do this and that with his new smartphone. He can even take a photo and send it to someone, which was something he really wanted to be able to do!

Early doubts have been replaced by a feeling of victory over technology — oh, and that the “smart” phone really is!