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  1. #1
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    Technological nightmares

    Dad doesn't cope with technical stuff. He struggled before he got dementia and now it's getting worse and worse. Well, that's something anyone with a relative with dementia could have told me, isn't it?

    Anyway, he had a television and a video. Then came digital. I told him he could have my digital television, which was in his garage (I use my computer for watching programmes) but no, he paid to have a digibox installed.

    Oh dear. It wasn't a question of switching on, it was a question of switching on and pressing three further buttons on the television remote. (And this was via the government scheme.) I tried again and again to explain but he didn't get it.

    So while I was in hospital, I installed my digital television and a simple controller and he pottered along, with a bit of help from some dymo labels on the controls. ("video for volume use TV remote")

    But it's got worse and worse. Again and again he asks me how to play a video. Simple. Switch television on, switch video player on, stick video in, if it's pre-recorded, it will play. Wait a couple of minutes and if it doesn't play, press play. 4 steps. He can't remember 4 steps, even with it written down.

    Now he's got a controller with, I reckon, at least fifty buttons on it. How's he going to remember that HDD is the button for television? How's he going to know what top menu is? How's he going to remember that the eject button on the machine is for DVDs and the eject button for videos is on the remote?

    And he paid 350 for this.

    I know what will happen. At least twice a week he'll ask me to explain how it works, get more and more frustrated, not listening to anything I say then tell me he can't cope and explain it another day.

    The new one will play a video in three or four steps like the old one, but if he can't remember how to use the old one...

    I find it hard enough when he gets stressed and takes it out on me, but I'm dreading this.

    The stupid thing about it all is that he has a pile of videos but rarely watches them and I can't remember the last time he found anything on television he wanted to watch. Never mind maybe in time he'll just give up on it and ignore it.
     

  2. #2
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    Hello Petrina,
    I am so sorry but cannot think of any easy way to solve this. As you say it will become so difficult he will, no doubt, in the end give up and not want to watch at all.

    Does he enjoy music? I wonder if playing a CD would be easier for him.
    Jan
    Former Carer and Volunteer Moderator

    'Hope is a lover's staff, walk hence with that and manage it against despairing thoughts' (Shakespeare)


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  3. #3
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    I gave him a portable stereo (well, not very portable) which I've put near where he sits and it's good because all the buttons are labelled. He's worked out how to put a CD in and put a casette in and play them. I leave it set to play his favourite radio channel when it's switched on unless he puts a CD or casette in.

    He's also got a personal stereo radio casette player which he likes to listen to.
     

  4. #4
    I'm not sure if this is good news or not, but I did find that after a while TV became less attractive to my mother, primarily because she simply couldn't follow the plot. Stuff like Antique Roadshow remained marginally interesting but forget anything like dramas, even things based on books that she was very familiar with.

    Personally, I think there should be some kind of remote system available where someone at another site to could "take control" of the TV and get it working (like those remote computer tech programs) but even that would probably not be terribly effective.
    Jennifer

    Volunteer moderator and former long distance carer.

    A test of a people is how it behaves toward the old. It is easy to love children. Even tyrants and dictators make a point of being fond of children. But the affection and care for the old, the incurable, the helpless are the true gold mines of a culture.

    Abraham J. Heschel
     

  5. #5
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    What a lovely idea about the remote. Yes, it would be very convenient if I could switch it on from here. I think it's technically possible but it's way beyond my skills.
     

  6. #6
    So, if I understand the situation: you successfully got rid of the set-top box, and at the moment he's able to operate the TV with the simple remote?

    And the problem comes when he wants to play a video. He's got a VCR, and now he's gone and bought himself a DVD player / hard disk recorder, which (of course) has a complicated 50-button remote?

    It doesn't bear thinking about. If you can't get him to give up on the video equipment, I have sympathy but no solution.

    With everything internet-enabled these days, I think control-from-anywhere is more of a marketing issue than a technological one. For example, you can set programmes to record using your smartphone, wherever you are, but manufacturers (understandably) don't seem to have thought that you might want to play something when you're not there.

    One not-very-hopeful suggestion: if he can't follow four steps written down, could he if you made it more pictorial, more visual? Or could he follow a video demo guiding him through it step by step? In principle, you could use a cheap photo frame and have it endlessly repeating a slide show or video loop showing how to switch on, insert video, press play.

    The sequence isn't inherently more complicated than playing CDs and audio cassettes, which he can manage, but it is more complicated in the sense that you have to coordinate among more devices (a VCR, a TV, and maybe a remote).

    Does he enjoy watching a video if you put it on for him? You say he rarely watches his videos but keeps asking you to explain how to do it. If his concern is more that he is determined to hang on to abilities he's losing, rather than that he actually wants to watch something, I don't know what you can do about that.
    Last edited by nmintueo; 29-03-2012 at 10:36 PM.
     

  7. #7
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    I like the idea of the photo frame. I've no idea how I'd record the video for it, but surely I must know someone somewhere who has the technology (in a mobile phone?)

    Thank you for the practical suggestion.
     

  8. #8
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    Hi Petrina

    I have problems too now with technology and try and help my elderly friend who hasn't got dementia I get exhausted mentally trying to helpher, use a mobile, a DVD, a cooker, when I have difficulties myself. However, like you I write down instructions for her, sometimes these work sometimes not but your thread has made me realize I need to duplicate the instructions so I keep a set at home so if she rings me in trouble I can talk her through it with the instructions I've got - remote without the technology if you know what I mean Normally I would have done this automatically, why can't I think properly

    I don't know if this would help at all with your Dad and maybe you've already tried it sorry if you have but thanks for helping me out.

    I think your amazing by the way how you help your Dad.
    Best wishes
    Sue
     

  9. #9
    I'm sorry to say this, but my dad is my only yardstick, he is in the later stages where everything has to be done for him, earlier you can try with notes and instructions, I never found it to work....but in the end I think you have to see that all that technology won't work, someone has to be there to take over and put on the channels or videos that he would want to watch. I do that for him throughout the day
    Last edited by Kathphlox; 29-03-2012 at 11:02 PM.
     

  10. #10
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    Thanks, Sue. I like the idea of a second set of instructions.

    As to helping Dad, I feel there's not much else I can do. To be blunt about it, he wasn't much of a Dad, not because he didn't love me, but because he largely didn't bother except for reading my school reports and demanding to know why I wasn't getting straight A's. He knew no better because that is how his parents were.

    But I can relate to him more than he realises. As they say, it takes one to know one, and like him, I'm fiercely independent and find it difficult to accept help from others. However, the difference is that I've been disabled from childhood so have had to accept help from others at various times.

    I have spent months in hospital without a visit from him, whilst when he's been in hospital, I've visited every day for months. Why? Because it simply never occurred to him to visit, but having been there myself, I know how much it matters.

    Sometimes he looks upset and says "I never realised", not because I've said something to draw his attention to how he treated me but just because I've said something to show that I understand and he's put two and two together and made four.

    He's not a nasty man, he just doesn't seem to be very good at putting himself in his children's shoes and seeing what they're like as opposed to what he wants them to be like or what he's like. But we're all human, and that includes Dad.

    Like they say, blood's thicker than water, not to mention I get hugs from him every day now which I didn't get when I was a child. I'm not him and I don't have to treat him the way he treated me, besides he wasn't perfect but he did the best he knew how and I'm not perfect but I'll do the best I know how and that's all you can ask of anyone.
     

  11. #11
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    Could your dad relate better to colours? Could you put nailvarnish over the important buttons for him to press perhaps? You could put colours on the remote control itself - green remote for tv - pink for video.

    Fiona
     

  12. #12
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    Hello everyone.

    Long live the wireless!!!

    I've never managed all those controllers. We got a tape recorder in 1970, I couldn't work it. My mobile phone has a green button (which means "go") and a red button (which means stop). I can just about manage that. It has an address book too - a miracle! I know how to text people too, I am a well-advanced techy.

    The TV now get 5 million channels, I use 1,2,3,4 and 5. Oh, I've just worked out what +1 does! I can watch Deal or No Deal at 5 p.m. now. The washing machine has 18 programmes. I use C and sometimes D, no idea what the others do. We have a satellite dish for something, it looks very nice and neat on the house, matches the others in the road. What is it for? I have a point and shoot camera, I point it and press shoot. Someone else has to download the photos. I don't know how to preview them.

    In case anyone thinks I'm a sad case, I am only just 60, no sign of any mental illness. I am a qualified accountant and am known nation-wide in academic circles. But I can't use technology.

    It's all to complicated for me. Imagine how it is for someone with dementia.

    They can join my club.

    Love

    Margaret
     

  13. #13
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    Re television remote. Sony produce a simple remote with only a few buttons.We set up my mums new digital tv (built in freeview much easier as no extra box etc) edited out all the new channels and just left 5 so she could not make a mistake. It has worked very well.
     

  14. #14
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    This is a problem for a lot of people, not just those with dementia. My mum doesn't, and she can barely turn on her tv, has been shown over and over how to use her dvd player and still can't do it, can't manage her radio-controlled alarm clock (she threw out the instructions!) - anything techy is beyond her. And I don't have a tv or dvd set up so am not much help. What about a portable dvd player? I know the screens tend to be small (I have one with a 10 inch screen) - but at least you put the dvd in and press play, end of bother!
     

  15. #15
    Hello Petrina, I am so sorry to read this, it is such a shame.

    This may not be of any use at all, but I wondered if whoever sold your Dad this equipment would take it back and exchange it for something far less confusing. Perhaps you could speak to them privately and explain that your dad just can't operate it and ask for some advice, and tell your dad its faulty and needs to be exhanged so he wont object

    It seems such a waste of his money if he can't use it and something is bugging me about the fact he was sold it in the first place.

    Very best wishes to you both xx
     

 

 

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