"Senior" Finds TV Hard to Use

By: Frank Engelman.  Updated: January 27, 2021.


Problem description

As older adults develop physical and mental frailties, they sometimes have difficulty using products they want to be able to continue to use: such as the TV.

For example, physical impairments, like arthritis or tremor, may make it hard to press buttons. And cognitive impairments may make it hard for them to remember the way to navigate to a particular channel or streaming "show".

This is one of the reasons why TV's in senior living facilities are often tuned to mind-numbing daytime TV, instead of being turned off or on by a resident, and tuned to an interesting show that they like. It is also a reason why some older adults are reduced to surfing a handful of easy to access channels, rather than unlocking the cornucopia of streaming content now available.

I wanted a solution that let a frail older adult easily find a specific channel or show. And, I wanted a way that I could "adjust" things from afar when he/she wanted to try some new content, or discovered a new show they liked.

More Like This

This is part of a series of "Problems" and DIY Technology "Solutions" to the challenges faced by older adults, by Frank Engelman. 



Suggested Solutions

Control a TV with Voice or Pre-programmed Buttons

I found I needed different solutions, depending on exactly what problem the older adult in question had. 

Below, I describe three solutions — starting with a simple voice command to set the TV to a specific program; and escalating to special pre-programmed buttons that can be positioned near the TV and which, when pressed, automatically start the desired program.



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