Author Topic: Simple message display for older relatives  (Read 3140 times)

less4success

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Simple message display for older relatives
« on: January 04, 2017, 08:48:13 AM »
I'm looking for a product (or easy way to setup something similar) that I can mount somewhere in the house and have it display messages (and possibly pictures/a calendar) that I can update from my phone. E.g. I want to be able to send a message saying "I'll be home early today" and have that message get displayed prominently (and attributed to me) for other people in my household to see (obviously not visible from any exterior windows to deter break-ins :)

Background:

I live with a 90+ year old relative who doesn't know how to use computers, tablets, or cell phones (and doesn't care to learn).

I'd basically like a display I can put somewhere that essentially just shows the equivalent of short text messages or emails (and maybe pictures or a weekly schedule, if possible) so that I can notify my relative of plan changes without having to call the home phone every time (there are also hearing/language barriers to overcome, so voice isn't ideal). The key point is that the display must have ZERO learning curve -- it should just always be on and showing the most recent information (no turning it on, no unlocking the device, etc.).

I suspect something like this could be created using a cheapo Android tablet connected to the wireless network with some appropriate software. I'm hoping someone has already solved this problem -- sadly, my web searches have turned up empty (mostly just monitoring systems which, while perhaps useful, aren't what I'm looking for at the moment).

Thanks!

Jakejake

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Re: Simple message display for older relatives
« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2017, 08:56:04 AM »
What about those remote desktop controller apps hooked to a tablet (or even a computer with flat screen monitor mounted somewhere) and no sleep mode on it?

Then you just log in remotely and put whatever you want on the screen.

I'm a red panda

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Re: Simple message display for older relatives
« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2017, 09:03:02 AM »
This is more of a hack than something intended for it- but what about a digital picture frame?  You could create an image easily on a smart phone that contains text and send it to the frame.

I guess the only question is whether that would put it in a rotation of images, or if it could replace them.

Ladychips

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Re: Simple message display for older relatives
« Reply #3 on: January 04, 2017, 01:58:42 PM »
I'm sorry I have nothing to contribute...but wanted to say thanks for such an INTERESTING question (and idea).  I've seen ticker tape things that show the stockmarket or football scores or what-have-you, but have no idea what those cost and how to use them...

MsPeacock

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Re: Simple message display for older relatives
« Reply #4 on: January 04, 2017, 02:07:39 PM »
I am curious if something like this exists as well. It would be like one of those signs that goes over the highway telling you about traffic jams or how far until the bay bridge, but house sized.


Not the same - but I have a "Reminder Rosie" clock in my kitchen. It records reminders, as you might guess from the name. It is intended for helping people with memory problems. I use it to get my 10 year old out the door in the morning on his own (having just gone nanny-less finally). It allows me to record things like "It is  7:30, time to get dressed" "It is 8:00, time to pack your lunch". The listener can only turn off the reminders by hitting the "snooze" bar but not delete them, otherwise they repeat for 15 minutes. However, you can't update it remotely - you could record something in the morning to be played later that day, but that is the limit of the flexibility. (It is also fairly expensive, although relative to the nanny it is a bargain.)

CheapskateWife

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Re: Simple message display for older relatives
« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2017, 02:14:30 PM »

Turkey Leg

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Re: Simple message display for older relatives
« Reply #6 on: January 04, 2017, 02:34:55 PM »
Actually, if you are part of the Apple universe, just use the Notes app on your device (likely an iPhone) to create a daily note (say, a "January 4, 2017" note for today).

Then on the Notes app on the device you're leaving at home (iPad, Mac), pull up that empty note, and then you can leave the house. Any updates you type on that note on your device will appear on the device you left at home. (You would have to keep the device at home plugged in and set so it doesn't lock.)

I just tested it using Notes on an iPhone, and Notes on a Mac. They are both running the latest versions of the available OSes. Works very well.

You would need to be signed in with the same iCloud account on both devices.

ketchup

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Re: Simple message display for older relatives
« Reply #7 on: January 04, 2017, 03:18:36 PM »
Actually, if you are part of the Apple universe, just use the Notes app on your device (likely an iPhone) to create a daily note (say, a "January 4, 2017" note for today).

Then on the Notes app on the device you're leaving at home (iPad, Mac), pull up that empty note, and then you can leave the house. Any updates you type on that note on your device will appear on the device you left at home. (You would have to keep the device at home plugged in and set so it doesn't lock.)

I just tested it using Notes on an iPhone, and Notes on a Mac. They are both running the latest versions of the available OSes. Works very well.

You would need to be signed in with the same iCloud account on both devices.
I believe Evernote would do the same thing, with no Apple ecosystem necessary.

okits

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Re: Simple message display for older relatives
« Reply #8 on: January 05, 2017, 01:33:36 AM »
I'm sorry I have nothing to contribute...but wanted to say thanks for such an INTERESTING question (and idea).  I've seen ticker tape things that show the stockmarket or football scores or what-have-you, but have no idea what those cost and how to use them...

Also following with interest.  I've wondered about something like this for a specific scenario (if the parent with Alzheimer's ends up in long term care because the caregiving parent is ill or dies).  Either of the kids could send short written messages (or possible audio/video - there is limited mobility, so missed phone calls are a possibility if getting to the phone is too difficult).

Would security be a concern?  Hopefully there could be safeguards in place so only the intended family members could send messages.  Also, easy troubleshooting or rebooting would be ideal because being out of town is a strong possibility.  (bender's suggestion seems simple and suitable.)

Villanelle

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Re: Simple message display for older relatives
« Reply #9 on: January 05, 2017, 02:19:09 AM »
Some enterprising mustachian needs to get on this ASAP!  As more and more of the pre-internet generation age, it seems like this would be a huge market. 

less4success

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Re: Simple message display for older relatives
« Reply #10 on: January 11, 2017, 08:47:36 AM »
Thanks for all of the suggestions!

I'm going to give a couple of them a shot and will report back (but don't hold your breath--it will probably be a while :)

Mgmny

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Re: Simple message display for older relatives
« Reply #11 on: January 11, 2017, 09:02:16 AM »
Actually, if you are part of the Apple universe, just use the Notes app on your device (likely an iPhone) to create a daily note (say, a "January 4, 2017" note for today).

Then on the Notes app on the device you're leaving at home (iPad, Mac), pull up that empty note, and then you can leave the house. Any updates you type on that note on your device will appear on the device you left at home. (You would have to keep the device at home plugged in and set so it doesn't lock.)

I just tested it using Notes on an iPhone, and Notes on a Mac. They are both running the latest versions of the available OSes. Works very well.

You would need to be signed in with the same iCloud account on both devices.
I believe Evernote would do the same thing, with no Apple ecosystem necessary.

Or Google Keep

SEAKSR

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Re: Simple message display for older relatives
« Reply #12 on: January 11, 2017, 12:39:57 PM »
P2F... with a number of aging relatives with varying degrees of tech savvy and known medical problems, I'm very interested in these possibilities.