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Wired and Assisted

So here is the dilemma that I was faced with – Dad is going to assisted living, so how can I make the experience as interesting as possible for him.  The biggest factor is that he’s not the most mobile person and his hands are very shaky, so using a computer isn’t an option, and the iPad approach had very limited success.

The solution?   GEEK OUT HIS ROOM!!

Remember that show called “Pimp My Ride”?  (It may still be on, for all I know)  Well, that is essentially the approach I took with my Dad’s studio apartment in the assisted living place, except the geek version of that.  So he doesn’t have gold and bling all over the place, but from a feature/function perspective I’d bet a dollar that he has THE best room in that building.

What did we add to his room?

1 – Keurig Coffee Maker (very important, as we all know institutional coffee sucks)
2 – Smart TV
3 – Amazon Echo (thank you Derek for the suggestion)
4 – Lazy-Boy Pimp chair (that’s what I call it)

Here is the rundown of the feature/function he currently has without ever leaving the comforts of his room:

  • Fire up a fresh cup a coffee (or hot chocolate) at any time
  • Sit in his “pimp chair”, which is powered up and down and also can be heated (adjustable) and vibrate/massage (adjustable)
  • Smart TV features:
    • Watch anything he wants on Netflix, History Channel, Amazon Movies, EWTN (Catholic Channel), and play Pandora music
  • Amazon Echo features (via voice – no movement required)
    • Play just about any music he would want (Amazon Music)
    • Get a full News briefing at any time (ESPN Radio, USA Today, NBC 5, and local weather forecast is the current lineup)
    • Add something to his shopping list (which shows up on my phone)
    • Play Pope Francis Trivia
    • Read anything out of The Bible
    • Read any of his Amazon Audible books to him
    • Read the Daily Mass Readings and/or Gospel to him
    • Play Chicago Sports Trivia
    • Send me an alert (via text) that he needs something urgent
    • Pray the Rosary
    • Set an alarm/timer
    • Ask about the weather anywhere in the world
    • Ask Alexa pretty much any random question he may think of

To be fair, this is all very new and I would say we are still in the “beta” phase.  Success has yet to be declared, but so far, so good.

I should probably setup a business to outfit assisted living places, or even retirement places, with this type of setup.  Since my Dad is the test dummy for this new multi-billion dollar business, I better give him a cut of the action eh?

The purpose of sharing this is to give others some ideas in case you are faced with a similar challenge.  Again, I am not declaring ANY level of success yet – ask me in a few months.  If he hasn’t tossed Alexa out the window, then I think we’re in good shape.  Stay tuned!

So from my perspective, if that’s not enough to keep him busy, then we’re pretty much screwed.  Now if we can only keep him from falling, life would be grand!  🙂



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