An Old Chick Named Hazel

Meet Hazel, a spunky 80 year old who wants to age gracefully in her own home.   This blog series provides tips and links to products to help seniors live independently in their current home.  

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Now Make Sure You Call Me Every Day

Updated: Mar 5, 2019

There is a lot to be said about seniors and phones. Other than postal mail, it is the one mode of communication that they have known all their life. Some may remember having to get an operator to make a call, party lines and 5 digit local calling. None the less, a phone could be a senior’s best friend and their connection to the world outside of their home.

So here are a few phone things we did for Hazel. Find a phone with big numbers. One that has a back light is good and one that has several ringtones. Set a separate ringtone for the kid’s numbers. A separate one for the boyfriend. Oh did I tell you Hazel has a boyfriend. He’s one of the nicest guys I know. Now he’s up in age also so he can’t see her that often but he calls to check on her every day. Now isn’t that sweet. Now back to ringtones and ringtones for other important people they want to hear from. Hazel has a special ring for a couple of people who she loves dearly but doesn’t always want to talk to. Then she can decide if she wants to talk or not or whether to rush to the phone if they call. For example, her friend Helen calls often but Helen likes to gossip in the worst kind of way. Hazel isn’t always up for that gossip and so the special ringtone lets her know that Helen the gossiper is calling.

Hazel also has several phones in the house that she can get to easily. To make sure Hazel can get her messages, we put typewriter computer white out on the button she needs to push to play her messages. This makes it easier to see and touch, especially if the phone is black. You can do the same with colorful nail polish. Hazel also has a hard time dialing the phone. She says the phone lines are mixed up but in reality, she sometimes dials the wrong number. An easy way to help her dial the right number is to use a non-sharpened pencil. Hazel uses the eraser end to hit the numbers. Using the pencil end makes it easier to apply pressure. Make sure the keypad makes sounds with each number pushed so your loved one will know if the number was entered more than once. Also, when Hazel is away from her home in Florida for a long period of time, we forward her phone to one of the grown kids. That way no one has to know if she is really home or not.

Hazel is on the go a lot so she carries a cell phone. There are several on the market now with large numbers which are easier to use. Some even have direct lines to nurses in case of an emergency. She opted not to get any text messaging because the texted message is too hard for her to see. Here are the links to a few phones with large numbers. Cell phone 1, landline phone 2 and landline phone 3 .

My siblings and I call Hazel often, just to check in on her. If you have several siblings, make a schedule. Bill calls on Mondays and any other day he wants to and Kim calls on Tuesdays and any other time she likes and Donald calls on Wednesday and another day if he wants, and everyone calls on Sundays, or visits. Just figure out whatever works for your family so that there is a constant check-in.

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