Thursday, 15th April 2021

How to survive your elderly parents getting a new phone

ARE you kindly helping your ageing parents get ‘one of these Smart Phones’? Here’s how to keep your blood pressure at safe levels: 

Practise having the patience of a saint

You cannot respond with sarcasm or anger to questions like ‘Is it safe to leave it turned on overnight?’ or ‘What if it turns off the neighbours’ wifi?’ Develop the necessary mental strength to by getting a friend to ask you inane questions for several hours a day, eg. ‘What’s the biggest piece of cheese?’

Prepare for an obsession with ‘big buttons’

The old are instantly drawn to any phone with ‘big buttons’, even if they can see perfectly well and the phone is a piece of crap. This will become an obsession, so prepare for weeks of challenging discussion similar to deprogramming fanatical cult members.

Do not assume any basic level of knowledge

Mobile phones are powered by magic pixie dust and never need to be charged, right? And if they get free texts, why do they have to pay for the phone? But it emits radiation, so should it be in a lead box? These and many other issues mean you should take a double Scotch on the hour every hour until the phone is bought.

Expect numerous nonsensical calls

Your parents will repeatedly call you by mistake, so all you can hear is Countryfile or biscuits being eaten. Also expect enigmatic, Rosetta Stone-style texts, such as ‘<<111<//@’.

Take care of your health

If you develop a powerful pounding sensation in your head, lie down in a darkened room and take a break from conversations like ‘We don’t want the internet on it, we should have got one with a camera like Auntie Susan’ or ‘Will Sony let us phone places in Britain, or just Japan?’

Prepare for all your good work to be in vain

Once set up with a mobile phone, your parents will do something strange like keeping it in a drawer by the landline, never taking it anywhere with them and turning it off after every call. They will then write down incoming numbers on a piece of paper and ring back on the landline a week later.