My Dad and I used StayConnected During COVID

Or: Why Accordare Created the StayConnected Product

When my dad moved to assisted living, he found it harder and harder to answer the phone when I called for my daily check-in and chat.  Even letting the phone ring 30 times was not enough time for him to get to the phone sometimes.

A regular cellphone or a mobile tablet didn’t work because he didn’t remember keep them charged.  When they were charged he had trouble logging into accounts or using mobile device gestures and interfaces to answer the phone.  Dad was 85 when he moved to his assisted living place.  Smartphones were the fifth interface he had had to learn in his life to answer the phone.  It was just too much. So we used his landline for calls, but his mobility was decreasing from using a cane, to using a walker, to eventually using a wheelchair.  And a lot of times the landline ringing didn’t get his attention even after 30 rings.  More and more often I had to call the assisted living staff to check in with him and make sure he answered his phone.

Our first prototype of StayConnected fixed the problem!  Well, not totally, but my ability to get in touch with my father and reassure myself that he was basically okay improved enormously.

My father lived about an eight-hour drive from me.  While visiting him for Christmas in 2019, we installed StayConnected in his assisted living apartment.

Then Covid hit in March 2020!  His facility was great — they were smart and caring in their response to Covid for their residents.  They locked down immediately, followed best practices protocols.  Dad didn’t get Covid, nor did most of his fellow residents.  But no one from the family could visit him in person for 2 years, and for the first year, before everyone in the facility got the vaccine, he often didn’t even see his friends who lived in the facility — they ate in their rooms to protect them from infection.

Our StayConnected video calls were a lifesaver.  Being able to see him as well as talk to him every day reassured me that he was usually physically and mentally well.  During Covid Dad was aging and losing more mobility and mental acuity, but StayConnected didn’t require that he do anything: I would call from a phone or tablet and StayConnected answered automatically for him.  StayConnected continued to work as a way for me to see and talk with Dad even as aging and isolation reduced his ability to answer a landline.

I was so grateful that StayConnected worked so well that I suggested we provide it as a communication product for other people who wanted to make it easier for their parents or other loved ones to stay in communication.

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