Skip to content Skip to navigation

Lamenting a new cell phone

August 22, 2016
by Kathleen Mears
| Reprints

In 2008, I decided to get a cell phone to put on my lap tray while watching TV so I could easily receive and make calls. One of the aides at my previous facility showed me the features of a moderately priced, prepaid cell phone. When I got it, she set it up for me, put in my contacts, and it worked out well. Though some there made fun of my prepaid phone, I was the only one with two other friends, who could get a cell phone signal when we traveled 70 miles away to a family reunion.

Three years ago that phone wore out, and I got a newer, cheaper, prepaid cell phone—made like a blackberry. I wanted a "sort of" smart phone to try out a few features, and to try texting—which is difficult for me.

Since that cell phone was my only phone here, I bought a cheaper, prepaid phone to use as a backup. I planned to have service time and minimal minutes on it, just in case.

Recently the cell phone company informed me they were eliminating 2G phones. I had to get a new backup phone to keep my service time and minutes. When the prepaid company linked me to more expensive phones, I called and they offered to send a free one.

Unfortunately, the free one was a flip phone, which I cannot get open. When I called, I was told they were not required to send me an accessible, free phone. So I bought a phone on my own for $10 plus shipping.

A week later my 3-year-old main cell phone would not power up. I read online that replacement batteries for it were no longer being manufactured, and if I purchased one it had been sitting in a warehouse. So, reluctantly, I bought a newer style, inexpensive prepaid phone to transfer my minutes to. It is a smart phone, which I did not necessarily want, but I thought the twentysomethings here would be better able to use it.

Getting my primary cell set up made me feel older. Activating it stumped a 40-something and a 20-something, before another staffer figured it out. So far, I only have two contacts in it. So if I get a call, I have to check the number to see if I can recognize it. I thought about e-mailing my contacts and asking them to call my new cell, so we can easily enter them to my contacts. Since my older phones could not access Gmail, I cannot use that prepaid company's mechanism to transfer contacts.

Maybe someday for those of us who do not want to be burdened with smart phones with multitudes of apps, prepaid cell phone companies will figure out a way that our contacts can be transferred from the old cell to the new one for a nominal one-time fee.

But for now, I will need to have a nursing home staffer enter them one at a time.


Kathleen Mears

Kathleen Mears has been a nursing home resident in Ohio for 20 years. She is an incomplete...