Unexpected help. Big advantage to aging parents and college football: the Fax machine!
The Wall Street Journal reports in a short front-page article “In College Football Recruiting, The Star Player Is the Fax Machine” (2/2/11). Readers learn the first Wednesday in February is “signing day,” the date when high school football recruits can officially finalize their college choice with a signed letter. To expedite the process the “often ignored” fax machine becomes the focus of anxious coaches as the signed letters roll in.
“I’ve never seen a bunch of grown men so worried about a fax machine, said the University of South Carolina’s recruiting coordinator,” (according to the WSJ).
Of course! Fax machines are more affordable and easier to use than the newer technology that scans and sends, so “everyone” has access to them. The fax machine can be “the star” for non-computer-using aging parents too. Instantaneous written communication can help parents age well, and the fax’s simple technology is often overlooked in this regard.
How is it helpful?
1. Health Issues: We–or “with-it” older parents– can fax the doctor’s office to inform of a health issue, asking for a quick fax or phone call back that day when a question needs answering (ie. New medication is causing nausea and dizziness. What to do?)
2. “Heads up” for doctors: Within 24 hours of an appointment, fax with specifics of reasons dad is coming in. Saves some precious time at the appointment.
3. Clarifying problem mail: At times parents (indeed all of us) have confusing bills or written notices. Once faxed to adult children, they can usually help untangle things to the point where parents can take care of the problem themselves with a fax or phone call to the sender of the bills or notices. If not, the problem is not a surprise and children are “ahead of the game” when they need to intervene.
4. Simply staying in touch. We know the more connections older people have with others, the better. So why not a quick fax? A living-alone, computer-less parent can read and reread it–and even fax back.
You’ll no doubt think of other uses for that old fax machine. Or perhaps you’ll buy an inexpensive new one. As we try to help older people age well, maintain independence and confidence, isn’t it important that we try not to do for aging parents what they can do for themselves –even if we can do it faster and easier? The fax is another tool–for them and for us.
Check out “Newsworthy” (right sidebar). Links to timely information and research from top universities and respected professionals, plus practical information–to help parents age well.