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Seniors Are Able to Use Cell Phones and Text Safely with Support and Practice.

Updated on September 11, 2013

NOT something we had on the farm


A very senior woman buys her first cell phone

If you have read my previous hubs, you know that I grew up on a farm with two sisters and six brothers. We had a car and eventually a one ton truck but no utilities such as electricity, heat other than wood burning stoves, and not running water. We did not have a phone, either.

I think the first time I had access to a phone was when I stayed with my sister-in-law and her two children that were under five. They lived just outside of "town", whatever that means to those who have never lived in the country. My brother was a POW at that time and, since I was in high school, my mother thought I'd be good company for her.

I'm not sure I ever used the phone, similar to the one pictured. It was there but such an unknown object that it made me a bit uncomfortable and it did not always did not bring good news ... much like telegrams.

When I was old enough to work, I used phones constantly and became quite comfortable in using them. I even did a stint on a hotel switchboard.

In recent years I traveled alone across the country to visit relatives. Sometimes, Crow (my husband's name when writing my hubs) went with me but not often. Friends and relatives suggested, then insisted that I needed a cell phone, especially when traveling. I kept resisting but, finally, began looking at different plans and asking what others had. My sister and her husband had a pay-as-you-go that they seemed happy with. I researched different companies, polled friends and relatives, and finally decided on a Net-10.

Gaining experience but not expertise

I skimmed the instruction booklet and then misplaced it. Finally, I found it just as I learned one could be downloaded from the internet. People told me how lucky I was to have a Nokia and I would stroke the phone's exterior while wondering how this phone was different from other brands.

After a few months, I would remember to take it with me when I left the house. Occasionally, I would also think to turn it on. I often wear skirts or pants with cargo pockets; these provided accessibility as I would not have to hunt for the phone. After more months, I thought about texting and got out the instruction booklet. It didn't seem so difficult but then I found out that many instructions assume a prior knowledge that I didn't have. I asked my daughter for help. She set up a contact list ... numbers for immediate family and other close friends. I didn't want too many because scrolling through a lengthy list would not suit my slightly OCD style. She also referenced the names to numbers; i.e., Raven is '2' but I never use those except when pocket dialing.

Texting at last

After sporadically using the cell phone to text very brief messages, such as 'I'm at the *** Motel in Louisville, KY or Princeton, IN'. During that same trip I stayed a few days at my brother's house. His granddaughter watched as I struggled to text my 'kids' where I was. She practically snatched the phone from my hands, pushed some buttons, texted a couple of different times, and pushed more buttons, and then handed it back to me. She explained that she had altered the predictive text programming. I had read about predictive text in the instruction booklet and had a bare knowledge of how that worked. Anyway, I accepted what she told me, not completely understanding. I then texted her, experimenting with the current process and was so pleased with how much better everything worked.

Continuing to practice

I still have much to learn about cell phones and texting but have made much progress thanks to my niece who sends me texts regularly. If she didn't do that, my skill would probably deteriorate. I must admit that, although I know many of the acronyms and abbreviations most people use, I don't use them. Most of my texts have the format of a business memo, along with appropriate spelling, capitalization, and punctuation. I don't want my written language skills to deteriorate either but texting my way takes longer..

When my phone wears out, I'll have to buy another but, in the meantime, I can always buy a charger like the one shown if wires in the current one break. Neither am I promoting one cell phone brand or cellular plan over another. I chose the one I did because it seemed right for me. The option of joining others' plans was not available so the Net 10 choice was, I believe, one that met my needs quite nicely. Whoops! I've not texted one time this week so must do that now!


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    • wabash annie profile image

      wabash annie 4 years ago from Colorado Front Range

      Jaye, I have been otherwise occupied with personal and medical issues so am just now catching up with reading comments and making my own. First of all, I don't see how people text with their thumbs. Another is that who do they think they are fooling with their hands under the table when eating lunch out?? Sometimes I think that, in addition to losing our written language and communication, oral communication will become an issue too. Anyway, thanks for reading my hub and good luck with the arthritis.

    • JayeWisdom profile image

      Jaye Denman 4 years ago from Deep South, USA

      I am one of the senior citizens who resists texting, mainly because arthritis makes typing difficult enough, and texting with my thumbs would be miserable.

      However, I also block texts from my phone (and I have a "plain vanilla" cell phone, not a smart phone) because I think the constant use of acronyms and abbreviations when texting is causing the younger generation to forget how to spell and write (if they ever knew).

      One young friend (13 years old) sends me emails that read like texts, and I have to ask her to interpret them! She's finally gotten the hint to use "real" words, so her most recent text was actually readable.

      One of my grandsons uses full words in his brief (very brief) emails to me, but foregoes capital letters--in fact, all punctuation. I'm so glad he writes me occasionally that I never mention the lower-case "i" with which he begins writing.

      Okay, I'll admit to being an old fogey and technically-challenged, but I hate to see an entire generation and the generations following them unable to write, spell or punctuate an actual sentence. This is especially true since public school curricula in the U.S. eliminated some of the basics of education, such as cursive writing.

      I've benefited from increasing technology in many ways, but, in some instances, I think it extracts too high a price.

      Interesting hub. Voted Up+


    • wabash annie profile image

      wabash annie 5 years ago from Colorado Front Range

      Thanks for the Just5 suggestion. I had not heard of it but will check it out!

    • Rpenafiel profile image

      Rpenafiel 5 years ago from United States

      Great hub Annie, I find it interesting and amusing. I like it when said that you are not conforming into using abbreviations and acronyms while texting, it will help you hone your ability in conveying oral and written messages continuously. If I may suggest, few phone makes in the market today are crafted and suited for the senior community. Just5 is one brand in particular, was designed to adapt with common age related impairments. I have nothing against Nokia phones though, but it is worth a second look and further analysis.