Old Age


To start with I’m caring for my 81 year old mother who is mentally slipping away from each day. I’m 51 and know that, one day, I’m going to have the same problems she’s having, today.

Top on my list are TV remotes and telephones. At my age, I need a magnifying glass to be able to read the numbers on TV remotes and cordless phones. Why do they ALL need to be so small? How in the world is an older person supposed to be able to read them?

I’m looking for suggestions on a brand(s) of TV remotes and telephones that a person with impaired vision and cognative skills can use. I have enough sympathy myself to go around for everybody. I don’t need sympathy, I need HELP!

My next gripe is Merrill, Lynch, etc., and bank statements. I’m a CPA and having a hard time understand these statements.

:banghead: :banghead: :banghead: :banghead: :banghead: :banghead:


When my mom started to have trouble seeing the remote (she’s always had trouble figuring it out, since she was 50 and we finally got a tv with one…) we went to a department store and bought a universal remote that had big enough numbers for her to see. We also typed up instructions on how to use it for basic tips like “record a movie” or “watch a movie.” Having one remote helped and having the instructions made her feel confident. My brother did the instructions for us, but if you have someone in the family looking for confirmation service hours this could be a great project for him or her.

As far as statements and things go, I’m surprised Merrill Lynch hasn’t come out with some in large print. I would call their customer service number (should be on the bottom of the statement soliciting complaints) and request them. Though it could be a programming issue on their side and may not be a quick fix, you can always make the case that you will need to take it up with a regulator as you feel they are trying to be less than transparent in their dealings with the public, much of whom have trouble reading small print. (At last, a question on the forum in my line of work.)


The problem with Universal remotes is they are for three or four different devices. It’s been about a year since I’ve looked because I’m trying to get her trained on the “simplest” one I could find at the time. I have to tell her to push the TV button (as opposed to VCR, etc., etc.) then the channel. The only problem is that she doesn’t get the remote pointed directly enough at the TV for it to get the signal because she’s focusing on which buttons she needs to be pushing. Movies are completely out of her sphere of understanding. She can’t to that by herself, at all.

When I talk to my mother’s account manager about this issue, I’ll have to go to confession afterward. Neither he nor his secretary are willing to take the time to listen to anything I have to say. What they don’t realize is that I will have twice as much money as my mother in my retirement account and it would be worth their while to be nice to me.


I would recommend telling your mother’s account rep. just what you’ve said here about your own finances. They will probably begin to bend over backwards for you, and then you can happily transfer your mom’s account elsewhere if you like and never do business with them yourself.


Leah, check out a site called “Magnifiers and More”. Edwin1961, here at CAF, works for them. They have all kinds of products for folks with vision problems.

And I have been where you are,taking care of my own dear Mama until her death, so believe me, I know what a challenge it can be. Have you contacted your local Office on Aging? (It may have a differentname where you are…) They can help a lot.

Prayers from here…


we get all our statements on line now, so I can zoom them so they are readable. I love it. also cuts down on the mound of mail. of course by the time I get like MIL I won’t be doing this stuff, my daughter will have taken over my affairs (I hope). our mutual problem with reading small type recalls this chuckle: DH went up to the pool last night, which has a combination lock because it is for the homeowners, not the rest of the CC visitors. well evidently everyone else had problem reading the numbers because they are highlighted in white, so us oldies can find the combo. some thoughtful person also highlighted the combo numbers on the keypad for our gate, so anyone with patience to experiment with combos of 4 numbers can get in. glad we are all so security conscious.


I’ve done that with all of my mother’s finances, but she still likes to see the paper. I manage all her finances online as well as my own. At least her Merrill Lynch statement has a graph showing the total balance from month to month and she can understand that.

I owned and lived in a townhouse community that had a pool. For the last 10 or 15 years I was there, we had to have a key to get into the pool. Fortunately, I managed not to lose the key during that time. Even in my 30’s and 40’s, I probably couldn’t have remembered or kept up with a combination for a lock. :blush:


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