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Humor and Reality of Connecting with Seniors, Digitally Speaking

  • Apr 12, 2016
  • Meaghan Puglisi
  • 5-min Read

Are you aware of the caregiver shortage that’s escalating across the country? If you’re searching for a home care provider for your aging parents, this is important for you to know. Locally, the Star Tribune featured an article on the crisis pointing out that here in Minnesota it’s reached a crisis point making it now an issue of safety for some and pushing families towards seeking desperate measures to care for their aging parents.

I just got off the phone with my Dad. He’s so funny. I say that now but earlier he was driving me crazy. He called me three times already – ‘Did you get my message?’ I’m thinking which one, there were several. ‘Where do I find my photos so I can show you the shed I built,’ he says. There’s a lot of grumbling and I can sense the frustration in his voice. I’m yelling into my smart phone because now I’m getting frustrated – ‘Dad if you’re looking through the photos while talking to me, I can’t hear you well, you have to speak to up.’ ‘What was that? I’m trying to show you photos, I can’t hear you.
’ This went on for 30 minutes.

There has to be an easier way to connect. The kids love texting him funny jokes. When he’s golfing or out at the hardware store, he loves to share with his buddies his grandson’s pitching because he can’t attend every game. These are the things that make him proud.

Lifesprk grandPad easily connects seniors to their purpose and passion

That’s why Lifesprk partnered with grandPad last summer to offer their clients and families technology that’s built specifically with seniors in mind, solving a lot of issues seniors face. The Lifesprk grandPad is easy to use, one button to call or video loved ones, games and favorite music can be played and you can store and easily share photos. Even more important, no WIFI is needed and no passwords to remember. (I wish I could do this for my fourth grader who has been locked out of his iPhone for the third time for not remembering what he chose as a password but that’s another story.) Kristine Pederson, LPN, Lifesprk Life Care Manager, recently participated in a pilot program for clients/residents at Parkshore Senior Campus, a SilverCrest property, to see how they felt about the grandPad. “They were very excited to use it,” said Kristine. “They enjoy communicating frequently with family members and this tablet gives them the opportunity to do that whenever they want. One client even said, ‘it’s relaxing playing cards and listening to the news, I wasn’t able to do that before.’”

This week the New York Times wrote an article on companies who are making technology easier for older people to use. In it they point to the benefits of seniors using technology, highlighting the grandPad, which lessens feelings of isolation, keeps brains active and connects seniors to their family and interests. All really good points – kind of why my Dad loves to use his phone to watch clips of my son’s pitching. He can see it even when he can’t be there. I love that I can text him to check in on him, send him photos and receive his messages (he’s catching on). Although he admits it’s hard to see the letters without his glasses and I would feel better ‘seeing’ him to really know if he’s doing well on his own. The grandPad would be a much better option for us all and the impetus for why Scott Lien, grandPad’s chief executive officer created the grandPad after hearing loss made it difficult for his mother to talk on a standard phone.

Our parents want to connect with us just as we want to see and hear their voice and know everything is okay. While I laugh at my dad asking me how to use the smartphone, I also don’t want him to ever feel stupid for not figuring it out – he was a chemistry teacher after all. If I can get him a device that is safe, easy to use and flexible to what he needs, that makes me happy. I’m going to have him buy my Mom one for Mother’s Day so she can enjoy the photos and get gardening tips. (I’m getting him one for Father’s Day – the gift has to look like it was his great idea first). It also got me thinking – how many of you connect via technology with your parents? What works for you and what doesn’t? Join the conversation and share your experiences….

Interested in getting your parents a grandPad? Check out the Lifesprk grandPad and use the Mother’s Day code: mothersday-ls to get your third month free not through May 9.

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