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Cell Phone for Someone in Nursing Home

Started 1310072248.42 in Electronics Talk | Last reply 1314241779.387 by AnikaBrodie

My husband has recently entered a nursing home. He has some dexterity problems & I was wondering if anyone had experiences or suggestions for a cell phone for him. Is the Jitterbug worth the price? Or is there another phone with easy to work buttons?

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ennui1310072463.09319957 PostsRegistered 4/17/2007

I'm afraid it would get stolen.

"Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things." ~ Robert Brault

glb6131310072667.0511659 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004

It will get stolen. Have him use the phone provided in the room.

memyselfan­dI1310074436.912712 PostsRegistered 7/30/2006

I have not had experiences with jitterbug but we did get a track phone for my in-law.

Nursing homes around here do NOT provide phones in the rooms anymore so telling people to use the phone that is provided is not accurate. To expect the person to go down to the main desk and talk is just silly.

My in-laws were in a nursing home for many years. Never once was the phone stolen. Oh wait - nothing was stolen from them.

I will say - get a phone with the largest buttons possible if there is a dexterity issue. And get one with very few features. It is easier for them to use. We found that especially my mother in law kept turning the ringer off by mistake so we did finally put a bit of electrical tape over it to remind her not to push it.

The original memyselfandI! (Marsha)

luvmypupz1310075198.824991 PostsRegistered 8/30/2010By the Sea Shore

I would worry about it being stolen too. My mother had things stolen or "borrowed" by other residents. We ended up having a land line phone installed in her room and that worked the best for us.

"I confronted the fact that I was not only talking to a dog, but answering for one." - Claire Cook, Must Love Dogs

gardenman1310076033.72717983 PostsRegistered 6/30/2005Southern New Jersey

Like memyselfandI said, many nursing homes do not provide phones and encourage people to use cell phones. My mom spent 19 days in a rehab facility/nursing home last summer and it was either use a cell phone, or have a phone line installed by the phone company at a significant expense. If she got moved to a new room we'd have to pay to have the service moved. A cell phone is the way to go in nursing homes.

I would recommend a cheaper Tracfone type of phone. They're typically pretty durable and cheap, so if something happens to it, you won't be out a lot. They're also pretty easy to operate. I'd leave the charger there so if you notice the charge getting low on a visit you can charge it up. I don't think you have a lot to worry about in terms of theft as long as you don't go too high end on the phone, or buy too many minutes for the phone. If possible, try to find a phone that has an opening for a lanyard so you can add a lanyard to it so he can carry the phone around his neck so it's always in easy reach. You don't see this feature on phones very often, but if you can find one that has it, it could be very beneficial. (A nurse and I spent ten minutes tracking down my Mom's phone when she lost it one day. We could hear it ringing, but finding it proved to be a real challenge. We eventually found it under the heating register.) If you can't find a phone with an opening for a lanyard, then you can cheat and superglue a small metal ring onto the back of the phone to serve as a makeshift lanyard holder.

One more note. Tracfone sells refurbished phones with a 60 minute phone card on their website for essentially the price of a 60 minute card alone. Many/most of those phones also come with double minutes for life so for a $20 investment you get the phone and 120 minutes. I've bought two of their refurbished phones and they've been absolutely perfect and a bargain. I highly recommend them for this type of use.

Fly! Eagles! Fly!
In Chip We Trust!

roylee1310080155.427137 PostsRegistered 4/22/2009

I bought a cell phone for my 91 year old Mother who is in a nursing home. The cell phone employees were very helpful in helping me select a very easy to use phone.

As another poster said, my Mother would mute the phone, and that was resolved with putting tape over the mute option. She has no problems answering the phone but cannot dial. To resolve that issue, we use the speed dial option. She only calls 2 people, myself and my sister. I used fingernail polish to put my initial on the "2" button and a * on the talk button. My sister's initial is on the "3" button. She knows to call me it's "2" and *, and my sister is "3" and *. She cannot retreive voice messages. And we don't worry about that. She does know when she misses a call from us, as I did program our names to show when we call. And she just calls us back.

I don't give my Mother's cell phone number out to a lot of people. I took a picture of Mom and it's on the cell phone and used the banner option to put her name on it to identify the phone as her phone.

I see her 2 to 3 times a week and charge the phone for her. The staff are great and are happy to charge the phone if need.

We were never concerned about the phone being stolen. Mom does not carry the phone with her. She leaves it in her room so it does not get lost. She is doing great using the phone. I hope your loved one enjoys their phone as much as my Mom does hers.

glb6131310080336.20311659 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004

I must have been thinking of a rehab facility rather than a nursing home when I posted they have phones in the rooms. With that being said, I still stand by what I posted about a cell phone being stolen. Buy a junk phone if you want it to stick around.

newtome1310081295.581424 PostsRegistered 10/5/2007


Last edited on 7/7/2011

Last edited on 7/7/2011

memyselfan­dI1310085302.92712 PostsRegistered 7/30/2006
On 7/7/2011 glb613 said:

I must have been thinking of a rehab facility rather than a nursing home when I posted they have phones in the rooms. With that being said, I still stand by what I posted about a cell phone being stolen. Buy a junk phone if you want it to stick around.

Rehab centers (around here at least) don't have them either. People come and go so fast it is one less expense for the center.

The one thing that I have seen in either rehab centers or nursing homes (and I volunteer there a lot) is not so much that phones are stolen but they do go missing because people forget where they put them. One thing that I have seen that works to easily identify the patients phone is a unique cover. We went to skin-it dot com and got a really bright WOW cover to put on the phone so it was easy to see both in the room and if it ended up in the dining room or exercise room or where ever. A name can also be put on that with a sharpie. There are also covers out there that will help it "bounce" a bit more too. If dexterity is an issue a cover that is for a construction worker might help a lot because they are usually more padded.

The original memyselfandI! (Marsha)

violann1310134237.48313949 PostsRegistered 12/12/2004
My mom was in a nursing home that was judged best in the state and we monitored her belongings DAILY and things were still stolen. I'm afraid that unless DH has the capacity to be perpetually vigilant, the phone would disappear. If that would not bother him, the Jitterbug is a good simple piece of equipment. I think the idea of a junk phone is best though.

I didn't come here to argue.- Peg Bracken

Abrowneyeg­irl1310136684.1931223 PostsRegistered 12/7/2009PA

Another vote for a inexpensive pay as you go phone.

Defin. get a pouch for the phone that can be worn around the neck.

If your loved one is in a facilty where you have to worry about a cell phone being stolen by the staff you have MORE to worry about than a phone!!{#emotions_dlg.ohmy}

I understand where a confused resident may pick up the phone if it is left out, but I also understand that a child will do the same thing-THAT is not STEALING.

Wishing you health and happiness.

wyldekat1310136829.2159 PostsRegistered 6/13/2011

My mother was in a nursing home, and my sister and I brought her a computer and a tv.

Any thing of value you leave there that you know you don't want to go walking off... make sure to register it with the business office. They usually want a list of belongings or valueables that are left there. That if it does go missing... then they are obligated to replace it. You might want to check their policy. It usually makes them more vigilant in things not walking off... because they don't want to have to replace them. They are responsible. YOU have to hold them to it.

We always checked for my moms belongings when we visited. We made sure we did my mothers laundry so her clothes wouldn't go missing too. If something had walked off... I can tell you that they knew that we would raise heck if something was stolen...

The thing is to be very vigilant, be nosey... ask questions. When they knew how involved we were, I felt my mother got better care. Make sure to ask, if able, how your husbands day was or how he was treated. If something doen't sound right, question it and don't back down.

I sometimes think, it wasn't enough, but we tried. You shouldn't have to worry about his belongings. I think if they don't provide a phone, and he is able to use one... a cell phone is a good idea. I think any one that you think he can use.. My mom used her computer to communicate.

Sorry... 'gets off soapbox'

Sooner1310137579.38716617 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004

Interesting and pretty things disappear in a nursing home. The residents wander around and take what they like often. It is what it is. They often have no concept of what isn't theirs any more.

Shogirl21310139663.9132187 PostsRegistered 12/6/2010

We put my mother-in-law in a nursing home about 6 months ago and I got her a lan line phone. Radio Shack sells one with big buttons on it that's easy to see and use. We weren't able to find any easy to use cell phones. All she needs is a phone that she can punch the buttons to dial numbers. She doesn't even have voicemail since she wouldn't be able to figure out how to use it.

C and C Fo­rever1310140185.2671572 PostsRegistered 3/21/2010

If you and your sister are both local, you can get a landline but have it installed WITHOUT a long distance option. It is cheaper than many other options and is not likely to be stolen. Be sure and have it without long distance or you might have the staff calling their family in Timbuktu on your dime~~Most people are honest, but always remember~~some aren't.

In the arithmetic of love, one plus one equals everything, and two minus one equals nothing.

Shogirl21310140723.882187 PostsRegistered 12/6/2010
On 7/8/2011 C and C Forever said:

If you and your sister are both local, you can get a landline but have it installed WITHOUT a long distance option. It is cheaper than many other options and is not likely to be stolen. Be sure and have it without long distance or you might have the staff calling their family in Timbuktu on your dime~~Most people are honest, but always remember~~some aren't.

Yes, that's how my MIL's phone service is set up - no extras incl. long distance. It still costs about $35/mo. just for basic service - what a ripoff!

YaleLaw20111310140787.95719 PostsRegistered 7/8/2011

My Mom is in a nursing home down here in South Florida. She has Alzheimers so does not use a phone. The nursing home does provide phones in the rooms but sometimes people who are more mobile are not in their rooms and may miss phone calls. If you think the nursing home is safe, then by all means, a cell phone is a great idea. The nursing home where my mom resides, is rampant with theft unfortunately. My Mom had her tv stolen and many items of clothing.

Zoologist1310141764.6276046 PostsRegistered 9/3/2010

The nursing homes (several, many highly rated) my older relatives have been in don't have problems with the RESIDENTS - it's the STAFF that steals everything!

berniew1310224974.483190 PostsRegistered 10/6/2004western maine

Thanks everyone for the good tips and advice{#emotions_dlg.biggrin}Many good tips! He is in a power chair & will keep the phone with him most of the time. I think I'll try a cheapie tracfone for awhile & see how it goes! Thanks so much.

AnikaBrodie1314241779.3416124 PostsRegistered 1/29/2008The NE state of mountains and valleys

I would not do it if I were you. Nursing homes have phones that can be used by residents to call out or receive calls. All they have to do is request a phone when they want to make a call.

MIL was in a nursing home and I could tell you horror stories of missing and "stolen" items - clothing, slippers, hygiene supplies, even a $300 television. I won't go into details since it's water over the dam and dear MIL is no longer with us. However, IMHO if you can't afford to "lose" it you may want to reconsider your purchase.

~~~The Silver Fox ~~~
“There are two ways of spreading light, to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it." ~~ Edith Wharton

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