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Old 04-26-2011, 06:16 PM
Location: San Antonio, TX
10,866 posts, read 18,930,000 times
Reputation: 25123


Originally Posted by Hollytree View Post
Could you post simple instructions on how to respond to a email right next to or on his computer?

It's also possible, of course, that he's using this as a way to keep in touch with you- a lot of older people worry about being abandoned by their children.
I was thinking that too...he wants an excuse to communicate with you.

My dad has short-term memory loss and it's different from that...for example, he's playing pool with my daughter and every time it's his turn, she has to tell him if he's stripes or solids. If it was just remembering something that someone showed how to do last month, that wouldn't be as big a deal.
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Old 04-26-2011, 06:51 PM
Location: In a house
13,258 posts, read 34,669,759 times
Reputation: 20198
Here's what I suggest, regarding e-mail: Set up some templates, and add them as icons on the desktop. Name one of them "Mail TO Bobby" and the other "INCOMING MAIL"

Teach him how to hit the REPLY button.

Teach him nothing else. It's just too much, some people are just plain not technologically inclined. Or have mental blocks with certain things. I don't own a cell phone. I'm not interested in learning how to use one, and if you try to teach me how, I'll just nod and smile and not pay any attention to you at all, and continue using my landline with an actual real cord attached to the handpiece.

On the Mail TO Bobby template, you can actually create an MS Access applet for this. Make it a data input plain text buffer, big enough for several paragraphs. Put a big SEND button on the top, and a big CLOSE button on the bottom. It doesn't have to save. When he SENDS it, it automatically opens up his mail program, addresses an outgoing e-mail to you, loads the text he just typed into the mail buffer, and sends it out. Close just closes his applet.

INCOMING mail will just open his e-mail program to the in-box showing him his list of incoming mail. Tell him the ONLY mail he has to open, is mail that he is expecting. And not to open anything else. And then you come once in awhile and delete all his spam.

Let him know he did NOT EVER win the irish sweepstakes, and that nice-sounding indian guy does NOT have a million dollars waiting for him, so he doesn't have to worry about any of those "URGENT" messages. And warn him that even though he might benefit from Viagra, he shouldn't be telling strangers on the internet about it, so he shouldn't open THOSE e-mails either

E-mail is actually intimidating, if you're not used to it, but have heard any of the horror stories.
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Old 04-26-2011, 07:36 PM
Location: North Beach, MD on the Chesapeake
32,157 posts, read 39,250,114 times
Reputation: 40644
Hell I'm 57 and forget how to do stuff on the computer. I have to do EXCEL every so often and always have to ask someone how to change it from portrait to landscape.
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:31 PM
Location: Destrehan, Louisiana
2,192 posts, read 6,040,832 times
Reputation: 3600
Just spend the time with him even if he doesn't get it.

You guys sound a lot me and my dad a few years back before he passed away.

I thought these things all mattered. Come to find out that after he died none of that matters.

Forget the frustration and enjoy what little time you guys have left together. Believe me when he's gone, that's all that maters.


Last edited by bustaduke; 04-26-2011 at 09:03 PM..
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Old 04-26-2011, 08:51 PM
Location: John & Ken-ville
13,692 posts, read 15,128,197 times
Reputation: 9493
I don't think there's anything abnormal about it. Your dad wasn't raised in the computer generation where he would use the technology like second nature. If he's a newbie then it will just take time for him to get used to it and understand the way the computer works especially if he's had no history with computer use.

My Mom who is the same age uses her laptop for playing games, email, searching up news and skype with family. She used a computer for work before she retired so she's adept at most things but some I have to help her with.

Mom is a gamer and has been playing them for about 15 years, she's got Nintendo DS and a PSP and loves her games.
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Old 04-27-2011, 01:10 PM
Location: Heading to the NW, 4 sure.
4,470 posts, read 6,620,736 times
Reputation: 8648
I have soo many passwords for diff accounts I do have them all written down...if I could just find them.
I just lost my password into my computer, yikes....67 going on 25 in the brain??
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Old 04-27-2011, 01:38 PM
Location: Neither here nor there
14,810 posts, read 13,570,588 times
Reputation: 32926
I've known people who just have mental blocks about some things and no matter how many times you show them or explain it to them, they just can't absorb it. Part of it may be their own attitude toward learning something they consider "too complicated". There are high school girls in my DIL's family who have the same "fear"--if you will--of algebra. No matter how you try and simplify it for them, they just can't get a good handle on it. Maybe your dad has something like that going on. In contrast, my uncle learned how to use a computer in his early 80's. He is now 94 and he's really good at it. If your dad is functioning well in other all the other areas of his life, I wouldn't worry about it too much. Just take it what it is and help him out when he needs it.

I was about 62 when I got my first computer and it was at least a year before I felt really comfortable with it. As time went on I got better and better at navigating cyberspace but I always had a very open and "I can do this--eventually" attitude about it.
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Old 04-28-2011, 07:57 AM
Location: Oxford, Ohio
901 posts, read 1,952,749 times
Reputation: 691
Thanks, everyone. You've offered some great advice, as well as words of encouragement. In thinking about it, he really does well. And yeah, there are things I just don't "get" either. For instance, when it comes to computers I understand a lot about the hardware and how to install things and swap out drives, etc. I even understand how to adjust settings for all my programs. But when it comes to understanding the PROGRAMMING itself, that goes way over my head - and I'm sure someone could try to teach me, but I wouldn't understand it no matter how much they tried to help me understand. I took Data Processing in high school back in the early 80s, and the farthest I got was BASIC. When it came to COBOL and everything beyond that, I was totally lost...no matter how much they tried to get me to understand it. Today, I only know a little about HTML, and that's it. I'd be lost working in IT.
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