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Topic Smart phone Go to previous topic Go to next topic Go to higher level

By trapper On 2012.11.02 22:46
My wife wants a smart phone for her birthday, as our daughter in law has one that she likes.
My wife has had Parkinsons for about 10 years and is not computer literate altho she manages to send the odd email with my help. She also still has her drivers license as she managed to pass recent test for that.

Problem: My wife has a problem with electronic things so I'm thinking that the purchase of a smartphone will be a waste of money.

What do you Parkinson people think?

By lurkingforacure On 2012.11.03 09:24
Depends I think...if you get a smooth screen, it's hard for PWP to "feel" where they are, at least for us. Buttons might be better. Some of the phones have voice capability (you can ask siri things....and she answers, I can see where this might be helpful).

They are usually pricey, not because of the phone itself, although the phone can be hundreds of dollars if you go with the high end ones, but because most providers charge, when we looked at it, around fifty bucks a MONTH for service with the data package. And don't even try to get a smart phone without also getting service with a data package: you cannot. In fact, all smart phones we have looked at recently clearly say "data plan required" so you can't even use the phone unless you pay the service provider (verizon, att, sprint, etc) for the data package.

You must look at what it will cost to have and use the phone, since it's a monthly expense. Factor that into your household budget first, and if you are OK with that, then let your wife play around with some different phones to see which ones she likes. We all know keeping our minds stimulated in something we are interested in is very important, and not just for PWP.

BTW, I see a phone that has the capability to make a call via voice activation as a safety issue: imagine if our PWP were stuck, and they could push a single button and yell out "Call ____" (your name here)....if you got a call from home (all phones have automatic caller id unless the number is restricted...) and no one answered or you heard your loved one's voice saying they were stuck or had fallen, you could be home in a jiffy. That could be very helpful.

By chroop67 On 2012.11.03 17:15
I know she wants a smart phone but it may only add frustration to both your lives. There are cell phones out there for seniors that are easy to use and simple. I think a smart phone would be a waste of money as she would only be using the basic functions anyways.
As far as her drivers license, that is a whole different issue, I am so thankful that my mom decided long ago that she could no longer confidently drive.

By JBehler On 2012.11.04 10:05
My PWP recently got a smartphone with the virtural keyboard. He found it so frustrating saying the screen was too sensitive. There is no adjustment for that. 2 weeks ago we exchanged it for a smartphone with the qwerty keyboard but is also virtual face. He likes that much better.
For text msg. he uses the voice to text feature; he really wanted this feature. This is great if his speech is loud and clear. Parkinsons has weakened his voice and clarity. Often he speaks, deletes, speaks, deletes..... It does force him to speak up and ennunciate, which is good.
Hubby doesn't really "use" much of the smartphone features such as internet or email. He is afraid of "getting into trouble".
Bottom line...smartphone was not a good choice for us. Unfortunately we are now stuck in a plan now paying for that service.

By trapper On 2012.11.04 20:52
Thanks for replies.

Showed your replies to my son and daughter in law and discussed further with my wife this weekend.
We have decided to get her an Ebook Reader instead of the Smart Phone. At least that way we wont get locked into a few years plan.

Nice to get help from this board!

By carman96 On 2012.11.05 08:21
I have a Kindle Fire and it does everything my phone does except make calls and take pictures. I read books; play games; stream video; I am on it right now. You need a wireless connection. I think it is easier than a computer and just the right size. My Pd husband can play solitaire on it if I set it up for him. He has never wanted anything electronic though. There are some great games that help with cognitive function. Even those of us without Pd need all the help we can get in that respect!

By LOHENGR1N On 2012.11.05 08:30
Carman, That's the key in you answer. "My Pd husband can play solitaire on it if I set it up fpr him" It's hard sometimes for Us patients to handle these electronic's. So you wouldn't want a phone that He'd need you to make the call for him everytime he wanted to use it. I think a tablet would be nice. I have one and it even lets you adjust the pressure used to touch it andmake it work (light to a harder poke lol) works for me.

By mylove On 2012.11.05 09:13
And now for the opposite perspective. LOL

My husband has a smart phone. He was the first one in our family to get one. Granted, he's still doing well, so he isn't in the same boat as someone further along. He uses his phone extensively. In fact, though I have one too, I prefer to do most of my web searching, email, etc on my laptop because I don't have the patience to use the small on-screen keyboard for things that take more than a few letters. He, however does ALL of his computer activity on his phone.

He is a technophile and loves to learn new things, so that works in his favor. He plays games, surfs the web, writes emails and texts, uses apps, etc. He's also figured out Siri's voice commands and uses that for writing longer texts or messages.

My take on it is this - I feel like it *improves* his eye/hand coordination and mental acuity. If your patient hates computers or tech, or just wants to play solitaire, then it probably isn't for them. But for the person who likes tech and an interactive interface, I believe smartphones and pads are valuable. The design itself rewards interaction, is visually engaging, and encourages eye/hand accuracy. You may have seen how intentional movement reduces tremor; if your patient isn't so bad that to attempt to use the phone or pad would cause too much frustration, the practice of playing a game or typing a message can be valuable.

I have thought for a while now that a pad might be a better option. Bigger than a phone but still with that touch screen interface. I'm a graphic artist and I know how much easier it is to have a touchable interface vs using a mouse to translate movements. It's one less step to navigate. I think we are going to try the pad next (Ssssh, or I will have blown Christmas!) ;-D

Just a couple of thoughts on the other side of the fence. I seem to be good at those. LOL

By carman96 On 2012.11.06 08:23
What I like about the Kindle Fire is it's a 7 inch touchscreen tablet and only $200. Much cheaper than an Ipad and smaller so easier to hold. My husband can't even use his regular cell phone to make a call. He was never interested in computers or anything electronic.
But for someone who wants to try to learn how to use a tablet it's a good fit. I get the $1.00 or free books most of the time.

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