We can all look back on the way our technology has advanced in just the last thirty years. When they first came out, cell phones were called mobile phones. Important people such as policemen, businessmen, and politicians were the first to have them Usually they were great big bulky phones sitting below the console. People definitely had to pull to the side of the road to use them, as you couldn’t hold them in your hand, much less drive at the same time. You didn’t even consider driving! I can remember you had to be in a good position for them to even make a call – were very few cell towers then.
First Cell Phones
It was probably around the early 1980s that I first saw a person using a mobile phone in a car. We were working in the oil industry in Kansas and the different crews that came out to service the Oil Rigs started getting mobile phones, mainly the supervisors of these crews. They were big bulky things, not much smaller than a pay phone (pay phones we’ll cover later), Normally they sat in front of the seat in the middle of the floor.
I thought that was the coolest thing ever invented, even though they were not very reliable, they did improve the way things operated. My boss looked really important with those antennae sticking up in the middle of his trunk and he probably had two of them because that was about the time CB Radios were gaining popularity. You can always tell how important someone is, by how many antennas they have on their car.
It wasn’t until later that they installed one in the Oil Rig Office (Dog House were what they really called them), but they wouldn’t let you use at all for personal reasons because of the cost. The few times that we did use them the reception was really bad and a lot of static.
Yes, that was kind of what it was like trying to use the first cell Phones. That was around 1984, but it was not until around 1993 and I was working in the Trucking Industry that I bought one for my Rig. By then, they had reduced the size a little, but the reception was terrible. It wasn’t too long and I received the first phone bill that I decided I could get along without it.
A Little Later On
Cell phones went through a lot of changes between 1993 and 2002 when I got my next one. It took me time to figure out how it worked and they were still working on improving reception. As it is with all new inventions, new phones take some time to figure out and for older people, a lot of them just give up or don’t want to fool with them anymore. Older folks think that it worked good to start with, why keep changing it?
Do you remember the first dishwashers? My Grandfather, being the eternal pessimist that he was, said they would never work – “there’s no way that thing will get the dishes clean enough”, I think it was some of my Aunts that bought it for my Grandmother, she was kind of hesitant at first and it took her quite a while to figure out how to run it.
New technology can be difficult for some people and some people never get the hang of it, I know it took me longer than most to figure out computers and cell phone. My Dad would study and work on things until he found out how they worked. I have to say I am not as patient as he was, but I will work on it. My Mother, on the other hand, will never get it! She lives next to me now that my Dad has passed and I am constantly going over to turn her phone back on, reset her heater, or fix the TV because she pushed the wrong button on the remote.
It is all something I don’t mind doing. My parents took care of me for eighteen years, I can help them live a more comfortable life in there Senior Years.
It is probably very important that our Seniors today have a cell phone, especially if they are active and still out driving. Maybe your parent lives at home alone, it is crucial that they have one. The way things are now you never know when someone may need to get in touch with law enforcement or roadside service. This is essential if your parents are out traveling the U.S., doing a little traveling in their old age.
They advertise those alert systems for Seniors living at home, which are great. The only drawback, we have found is that if there is an emergency, they will come to your house and if the door is locked, they have to bust the door. You end up with a repair bill. With all the telemarketers calling these days and scams they are trying to promote, particularly to Seniors, I get kind of Leary of a normal landline phone. They are essential if your parent lives away from a major city, but not so much if they live in the city.
Most law enforcement and home health care organizations strongly recommend that Seniors carry cell phones, after all, we don’t let our children leave home without one, why should we let our Senior parents go without one?
My wife and I, have both our parents on our cell phone plan. The way it is now you can do this without incurring a too much extra expense. The main thing is getting the right phone that they can use and keep in mind what they might or might not be able to do. Things you might have to consider:
- Do they want to text – Can they text – keep in mind arthritis is very prevalent in Seniors and their fingers don’t work really well some time
- Do they need the Internet – My father had eyesight problems as he aged and it was really sad to watch, someone who liked to read and study as much as he did, but he had trouble seeing the TV much less a small screen on a small phone
- Trouble navigating – As my Grandmother had trouble operating her dishwasher, when she got it, a lot of Seniors don’t understand the Internet
- What they need – Keep in mind what kind of cell phone a Senior might be able to use and there are many kinds to choose from. Our good friends at Wal-Mart have many choices for Seniors
Take a Look At the Options
These phones have all kind of different options, and it wasn’t until a little trial and error, that we found the phones that our parents could use. Some options are:
- Emergency “SOS” Buttons
- VGA Camera
- Large easy to read buttons
- MP3 player
- Social Apps
- Loud Speakerphones
- Simple to use phones with just call features
Things to Think About
These are just a few and I encourage everyone that has older parents to look into getting a phone for them. Sometimes we spend too much time on Social Media with our friends when we should pay attention to the ones that really matter in our lives. People that spent many years taking care of you, worrying about you, and trying to get you started down the right path in this truly confusing world.
Seniors have enough problems dealing with this ever, fast-changing world and it won’t be much longer than the World will pass you by and you will look for some assistance or company. Maybe they already have cell phones, but just a little love and attention goes a long way.
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