4 Gadgets and Funeral

Originally published January 4, 2018, revised 21st October 2019 | David Moore

2017 was an unusual year for most of us. Need I state the obvious?

But for me the weirdness included the death of several customers.

Some were expected, some a surprise but I noticed the number was bigger in 2017.

One case in particular highlighted some computer and technology related problems faced by the elderly and dying.

I thought I'd share it with you in the event that it can help you prevent some problems and pain around these most difficult of times.

An elderly customer of mine had lots of gadgets. She used them all and was a champion. She kept her body and mind going and was a trooper.

She had 2 computers, a tablet and a smartphone (that I know of).

She'd accumulated all these before I started helping her out.

Someone had set them all up to use the same password everywhere - login, email, Facebook, all 4 devices...everything and everywhere.

While I've often pointed out that this is a very bad idea, was what she needed to cope.

NOTE: https://www.ihatemypc.com.au/blog/categories/password-management-tools-advice

NOTE: https://www.ihatemypc.com.au/post/2018/11/16/picking-a-password-protecting-program

One day the System broke. Someone or something forced a password change on her and all hell broke loose.

Without going into a lot of detail, most things won't let you re-use a password, so setting things back to the Status quo was not possible.

This provided endless confusion for her as she could no longer keep track Of which password went where. She then caused herself a spiral Of password changes on other devices and systems by endlessly entering the wrong password all over the place.

I did the best I could to help her understand and takes notes in her log book so that she could keep using things but it proved too much for her.

I advised a significant reduction in tech - there was no need for 2 computers and quite probably no need for a tablet AND a smartphone.

She was stubborn and refused. The password dilemma continued to spiral....then she fell and ended up in hospital.

When she left hospital, as is so often the case with the elderly, she was not her old self.

Already struggling before the fall, afterwards was even worse.

When she died a few months later no-one could access her information. She was on her own here and relatives overseas could not be tracked down.

Fortunately I was able to recover enough password information to facilitate contacting of relatives.

What is the message here?

Well, you should probably read another of my BLOG posts on how to prepare for the inevitable and how to prepare your digital legacy. [Death of a password]

I provided all the help and information I could to her but for one reason or another it was ignored.

That's OK, that's life, that's humans.

I want to point out that too much technology for your capabilities can cause problems far beyond personal frustration.

Reduce your technology to the point you can handle it properly, comfortably and without stress.

This will not only help you, but also help those who help you.

It is OK to opt out and just not do the crap you don't want to do.

This applies no matter what age you are.

Enjoy your technology and don’t let it control your life no matter what age you are 

David Moore

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