Has anyone considered using this for elderly or dementia patients? Or actual experience? I have a close relative w/ Alzheimer 's that absolutely can’t use a cell phone but this is so simple, I could easily see it working positively in this circumstance. Any opinions or observations would be great to hear! Thanks
My concern at this time would be that the recipient would have to be listening at all times. Unlike a cell phone there is no opportunity through ringing that would allow the recipient to get to the device before the relative starts speaking. Likely no issue for your average elderly person, but one dealing with dementia or Alzhemier’s this is less than optimal. At the present time (although it is said to be coming) no “message” is recorded either.
Once the Relay captures messages, I think it might be more viable for someone dealing with these conditions.
In the meantime, when we faced this with a family members, here’s what we used: https://www.amazon.com/Medical-Alert-System-Emergency-MONTHLY/dp/B01IPJL2DG/ref=sr_1_9?ie=UTF8&qid=1545313170&sr=8-9&keywords=emergency+pendant It is a one-button push that dials a series of phone numbers in sequence, until someone answers, when a single button on the wireless/waterproof pendant is pushed. It works over the same distance as a cordless phone (so only in the home).
We’ve actually had a lot of Relay customers tell us that they’ve purchased for an elderly parent who doesn’t want to or can’t use a smartphone. We are very interested in learning more about what would make Relay perfect for these customers. And, as @louisdi said, I’m sure we have some work to do to meet their unique needs. Thanks for your thoughtful comment & idea.
ALMOST THERE, BUT NOT YET
I bought a Relay specifically for my 83 year old mother who has early signs of mild dementia. She originally had a Republic Wireless Moto G phone, but every time someone called her, she would get flustered and couldn’t remember to swipe right, left, up, or down. We switched her to a TracPhone flip phone. That didn’t work either since the contact list was too hard for her to figure out. The Relay offered the simplicity that we were looking for. The current Relay configuration, however, still falls short in being an effective communication device for use by the elderly or people with mild dementia.
When I first unveiled the Relay to my mother, I was very careful to explain that the twofold purpose of the Relay was to (1) allow an immediate direct line of communication between me and her, and (2) allow me to track her location.
I thought she’d balk at wearing the Relay on a lanyard, but the lightweight and stylish Relay made that concern a non-issue. She also liked the fact that the Relay was for communicating with me anywhere. She’s still independent, so she was leery of other devices that were designed more for summoning help.
We practiced talking to each other and I thought things were fine, until I realized that she couldn’t talk to me unless the Relay app was running in the foreground of my phone. If the app was in the background, I’d only get a notification. The channel alert (push volume for two seconds) is somewhat a work around, but it’s a lot to ask an elderly person to remember to do that (and it is ineffective when more than one person is using the Relay app).
So, until the Relay can communicate with a phone that is locked or has the Relay app running in the background, we won’t be using the Relay. Right now it produces frustration more than confidence for my elderly mother.
I’m confident, however, that the Relay team will come through with a software update addressing these issues.