Phone Time While Confined

I’ve been exploring with family and staff how to return Lynne’s phone to her for phone conversations. She was using the concierge desk for phone calls which interrupted their work. We needed to solve the problems that led me to take it away, stressing about losing it, keying incorrectly, keeping it charged, answering incorrectly, talking into the microphone, avoid hanging up too early and guarding against fraud. It seemed hopeless. Frankly, I kept it plugged in at my apartment with pink lights racing up and down the cord in spite of self-talk to face facts, save money and get rid of it. I couldn’t flip it into the wastebasket.

Slowly ideas emerged. Staff agreed we could leave it plugged in at the concierge desk for Lynne and eliminate her using the concierge phone. The lights on the cord helped keep track of it. We would ask people to make an appointment to call Lynne by asking the concierge to put it on the resident calendar, allowing staff to make sure she is available and tell her who is calling.

That setup was in place when the facility canceled all visits because of the coronavirus epidemic. A disappointed friend asked if she could do Face-time on her iPhone with Lynne. Great, because we hadn’t tried it yet and I didn’t know how to do video phone calls on my android phone. She agreed to be our first test and we made arrangements. That night I got her excited email, “It worked! She got confused a bit by technology but she saw us and communicated well.” Lynne remembered the call with a big smile when I saw her.

I was happy to eliminate flashing pink cord lights nagging me because Lynne was unable to talk on her phone and she missed it. I am grateful the assisted living staff worked with us to link Lynne with our family and her friends, (most of them have iPhones). We’ll see if it becomes too much of a problem, but we’ll face that. We persist.

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