Email For Our Aging Parents and Relatives – Part 1

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Daily Living Made Easier

While most of us who are in the Sandwich Generation and dealing with the issues of caring for elderly parents and grandchildren would be lost without our email, cell phone, and other hi-tech communications, our aging parents are often quite a different story.

I have one great uncle who taught himself the computer when he was in his 50s and continues to send sporadic emails, though the number has dropped considerably since he is spending much less time on the computer due to his health issues. I have a few other older relatives who email once in a while, but eyesight problems are slowing one down and, while the other two are doing fine, I rarely hear from them either. I think they, too, are using their computer less as well. The nice thing is that I can still send all of them email and they enjoy that, though I’m never sure when they’ll get it as they aren’t on the computer as often.

Other senior friends and relatives are just plain terrified of the computer so sending them an email has not been an option. While I try to write and send by “snail mail” when I can, email is definitely easier for this uber-busy Sandwich Generation senior home care giver and Granny Nanny!

Fortunately, there are some new options available for our aging seniors, with a little help from us. One of those options is from Presto! They contacted me in May and asked if I would “test drive” their Presto Email Printer and Service using their Presto HP a10 printing mailbox for presto service which they provided for free review for three months. After reading their material, I realized if it worked as promised it could be a great product for the Sandwich Generation so I agreed to the test drive. The timing couldn’t have been better. I had to travel extensively during June and July, leaving my senior mom at home to “keep the home fires burning,” though with the summer heat we’ve been experiencing, I guess a better phrase would be that she “kept the A/C running.”  🙂

My senior mom loves the photo slide show I have running on my computer. She can sit and enjoy watching all the grandkids and great-grandkids pictures without having to do a thing, other than turn off the computer in the event of a thunder and lightening storm. She does NOT like to use the computer itself. She tried it several years ago, didn’t like it, and that’s OK. She gets email occasionally from a couple of relatives who send the email to me and I print it out and give it to her. She then replies with handwritten letters given to our mailman. When I’m gone though, it sure would be handy to be able to email her. Of course, I call her daily, but sometimes I’d like to send her photos or get an email to her at a time I know I can’t call.

The Presto Email Printer and Service looked like it would allow me to do just that. The Presto HP a10 printing mailbox arrived a week before I had to leave along with three sets of excellent directions to help me get it all set up for the Presto service, with a quick start guide and booklet for the printer, along with full instructions. I have to admit, my first thought was, “I have so much to do and now I have to figure this thing out!” My concern was unnecessary as it was quite easy to figure out. The machine itself was, of course, built by HP (Hewlett Packard) which happens to be my favorite company for both computers and printers. It was almost identical to the printer I am currently using, so there was even less of a learning curve for me as I already knew how the printer cartridges would go in and where the little back door was.

I have to warn you though – as easy as it was for me to set up, many older seniors would definitely need help, in part because of all the tape that needs to be removed. Being familiar with taped up printers (they tape it to protect it while shipping), I am well acquainted with looking in every nook and cranny for more tape. My senior mom probably would have given up half way through though. I counted at least 10 pieces of tape that had to be removed and I know she would have been frustrated by that.  If the Presto email printer and Service is for a long-distance senior citizen, you might want to see if a relative or neighbor who lives close by could assist them with the setup.

Once all the tape is off, you just need to plug in the power cord along with one or two phone cords, depending on if you are using an unused phone jack or plugging into an existing telephone. Once more, what was easy for me would have been very confusing for my senior mom. Then again, I have another relative, same age, who could have done it fairly easily. The other consideration, of course, is if they are physically able to carry the printer, and get down and around to plug in the cords. The printer is quite light-weight so that helps a lot.

The final steps for the physical set up are to insert the enclosed printer cartridge (one more step that could be somewhat difficult for someone unfamiliar with printers – make sure the helpers stick around for that part as well), and put in the paper.

WOW – this is turning out to be one of my longest posts. There's just so much interesting info I wanted to share with you about all this. Would you believe it, you’re only half way through! So, I am going to save the rest for Saturday. Do come back and read part 2 and find out what the end result is!  I'll give you a hint – it's good news for the Sandwich Generation and their elderly parents.  🙂

Daily Living Made Easier

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Aging Parents Just Want Their Daily Paper!


    • Kaye Swain
    • August 12, 2009

    Part 1 of my review on the Presto Printing Mailbox and Presto Mail service – a great email option for aging parents.

  1. Kaye, you are leaving me in such suspense! I guess I’ll have to wait for Saturday. : O

    Peter Radsliff
    Presto CEO

  2. Hi Peter, Can you tell I love mystery cliffhangers? 🙂 🙂 🙂

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