Tuesday, March 01, 2016

iPad LTE videoconferencing for a longterm care facility resident?

My 94yo father is a resident of a Canadian longterm care facility (veterans). He’s been surprisingly content there — though funding transitions are likely to make it less agreeable. He’s also retained more cognitive ability than I’d expected; not enough to live without assistance but enough to enjoy family conversations.

I live in Minnesota, and unfortunately none of my siblings live near him. We pay for a friend to visit him weekly, that has worked well. He also gets daily phone calls from my sister, but I have a hard time speaking with him by phone. He doesn’t understand my voice very well. Surprisingly, we do much better on Skype video calls. I think the audio quality is better, and by reading my face he is better able to converse.

The Skype calls require facility support that is likely to fade, so I’m now thinking of iPad LTE FaceTime calls. At the end of his life, in a weird twist of fate for a working class man, he has more money than he needs. He can pay for the device and the mobile fees.

I’m thinking of an iPad 2/3 (full size) with a wall or desk mount support and a lock, setup so he’s not backlit. When not in use for videoconferencing it can play a family photo slideshow (it’s dismally hard to find good products for slideshows). I don’t think he’d be able to initiate or receive a call — FaceTime’s UI is far too awkward, but I’d schedule times around a helper visit.

Anyone aware of similar projects? Leave comments here or email jgordon@kateva.org (or app.net @johngordon).

If I do the project I’ll publish on our experience.

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