"Senior" Finds TV Hard to Use

By: Frank Engelman.  Updated: September 17, 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.





from Allynn (member) at July 10, 2021

I'm not sure where to put this comment/question but here sounds about as good as any.  I have my dad set up with a couple of Roku devices (one box and one TV).  He's getting the hang of the remote and I've added a few channels I think he would like.  The problem is the font size.  It is so tiny, even I have trouble seeing it.  I've looked everywhere and I can't seem to find any way of making the font bigger which is just crazy.  Any ideas?  This is rapidly becoming a "deal breaker" for Roku.  Does Firestick or even Apple TV have a font size option?


from faengelm (member) at July 10, 2021

Hello Allynn,

I don’t have a Roku so I’m unable to test this. I can see why you are having problems finding an adjustment as I didn’t see anything on the Roku support site.

But the user forum says this in a post under the “brightness control”

“I've looked in the manual as well as searched the forums, so please forgive me if this is documented someplace.
How to I change the settings to allow the M1000 to display large fonts? Thanks much!

Press the "Bright" button on the remote. This brings up a menu where the left and right arrows control brightness, and the up and down arrows adjust the font size. Press select to confirm your change. It's on page 37 of the most-recent manual, for reference, although there's an error in the manual which has the buttons reversed.”

On the Fire Tv there are several settings under Accessibility for Text Banner which makes the selected text bigger.
I prefer the Fire TV as it also supports Alexa Calling and Alexa Routines

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