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  • Nancy Spear

She has an iPhone, an iMac, and Early Stage Memory Loss

I’ve been seeing my 83-year-old client once a week since January. I arrive at her condo at 10am and as I set up in her dining room, she walks out of her bedroom, smiling and dressed to the nines. Hair and makeup impeccable, accessories complementing her outfit, and carrying her shiny, patent-leather black purse.

She has an iPhone, an iMac, and early stage memory loss.

At the beginning of the year, we worked with her iPhone. Then moved to her computer to check emails. Months later, I started showing her brain exercises (she loves the word games). Over the next few months, I tried to find computer activities that she’d be interested in. She didn’t want to email the kids; she didn’t want to bother them, she said.

I learned she had fond memories of her college years. I went to the school’s website and found oral histories of her classmates. That was good for a few months but we eventually exhausted the videos. What else could I teach her that would keep her interested?

I knew she took piano lessons and also was part of a choir. I asked her what music she liked to listen to when she was younger. She couldn’t remember. I threw a few names out: Nat King Cole, Elvis, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra? “Sinatra,” she said, “I liked him.” I showed her how to go to YouTube and where to type in Sinatra’s name. We refined her search by adding ‘actual footage.’ We found Frank Sinatra - Old Man River (1946).

With my instruction, she clicked on the white arrow to play the video, expanded the screen, and turned up the volume. And there was Frank, 31-years-old, in a white tuxedo. He stood on a Greek column in an elaborate set, surrounded by an orchestra that went on and on. He started singing and she watched the screen. Soon, she started tapping her foot. She started singing softly, then louder, bringing her hands up to join him in the drama when he really started belting. As the song ended and the camera pulled back, she turned to me, smiled, and said, “This is fun.”

If I had only started my business for these last few minutes with her, it would have all been worth it. I’m looking forward to next week when we may move on to “Luck Be A Lady.”

And, here’s the link to “Old Man River.” Watch it; you might find yourself singing along, too.

NANCY SPEAR Nancy's Tech Help for Older Adults 310-365-9951

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