70% age 70+ have “no interest” in hi-tech communication gadgets.

Thinking of getting grandma or grandpa a Kindle, iPad, iPhone or laptop so they can Skype or Facetime with the grandkids? Think again. Almost 70% of over 1,600 respondents 70+ years old said they had “no interest” in those devices in a survey conducted by Link•Age, a senior living think tank and trade association. Those percentages extrapolate to over 19 million Americans who are saying “meh” to tech.

70% age 70+ show "no interest" in tech

Link-to-SurveyBut why?
So many of us today can’t live without emailing, texting, chatting, instant messaging, Instagram-ing, Facebook-ing and mobile phoning 24/7. So why have the vast majority our grandparents, and even many parents opted out? Are they Luddites or technophobes? Are these members of society “afraid” of today’s techie world?

Is it them?
Remember, those who decided to say “no thanks” to today’s tech were the same ones who built America’s telephony and electric grid infrastructure. They successfully transitioned from a horse on the farm to an automobile on the interstate. In fact, they built the interstate. They were the ones who transitioned from sailing on ships to go abroad, to flying on planes around the globe. Oh, and by the way, they won two world wars while they were at it, building 2,700 Liberty Ships, 12,000 B17s, and 49,000 Sherman tanks along the way. Today we tend to think of microprocessors as representing the peak of technology in all of our fancy, pocketable gadgets. But don’t forget, our grandparents developed nuclear power and the atomic bomb, preserving our nation’s freedom in the process.

100 years of innovation

Is it us?
Could it be that the value of today’s tech-infused lifestyle hasn’t merely been overlooked by the GI Generation, but consciously passed over? Could it be that the modern tech learning curve is just too steep for those who retired before personal computers became de rigueur? Or is it that the cost and hassle to learn today’s technology has not proven to be important enough to those who were brought up with a different set of values?

What to do?
Should people force the issue by giving a computer, tablet or smartphone to a parent or grandparent who doesn’t want it, thereby wasting money and creating the need to provide “tech support.” Would it be better to have a method where extended family members could use the communication technologies of their choosing, while their parents or grandparents use the technology of their own choice? Is there a technology available that could manage the translation between these two different users?

Specially designed solution provides best of both worlds
What if you could tap out an email from your Android phone, or transmit a digital photo from an iPad, and have it arrive at your grandparent’s house in a few hours—even though your grandparents don’t have a computer or Internet service? How could this even be possible? Would octocopters pick up photos from an Amazon.com distribution center and drop them on your grandparent’s doorstep?

Presto Printing Mailbox

In 2006 (well before commercial drones) Hewlett-Packard developed a special printer that didn’t need a computer or Internet connection. It connects to a virtual computer in the “cloud” via the user’s existing telephone line. This cloud service provides an email address to subscribers and allows only approved senders to deliver messages and photos to the machine. It is almost like a high-resolution, full-color “fax machine,” except it doesn’t ring and instead autonomously dials out to retrieve mail five times a day.

The best kept secret
HP never promoted the printer or service themselves, possibly their focus was on other products. The cloud service company that invented the concept is Presto, which has been located in Silicon Valley since 2004 and has provided almost 500,000 family members with the ability to connect digitally with their offline loved ones.

Map of Presto users in the US

Map of Presto users in the U.S.

Sexy secret technology
These days, most people consider thumbprint-activated smartphones or paper-thin tablets to be “sexy.” But the sexiest technology is one that provides the highest value with a stellar user experience for everyone involved. HP and Presto’s solution is still the only one available that allows communicators to send how they wish—by email—and recipients to receive how they wish—by letter—without any incoming ringing, or need to touch any buttons or screens. An even more unique and “sexy” user-experience was discovered by HP and Presto during early field testing: users wanted to reply by telephone, not digitally. This allowed the machine to be much less complicated and less expensive than it would have been otherwise.

The need for this technology is great. The nearly 20 million Americans who’ve decided they have “no interest” in electronic communications gadgets don’t know they can connect digitally to family any other way.

Can This “Secret” Technology Help Someone In Your Family? Click Here >>

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Presto “How To” #2: Getting the Rest of the Family to Send Presto Mail

As wonderful as the Presto system is, if no one sends any mail to your Presto user, it won’t provide nearly as much value as it could. We have developed supplements to family emails, but those will be covered in a different section. This Presto “How To” is all about getting the extended family and friends to engage with your Presto user by sending mail via Presto. As the Account Manager, if you follow these four simple steps, you can greatly improve the life of your Presto user while making your life easier as well.

————  FOUR STEPS TO THRIVING FAMILY CONNECTIONS  ————

1. INVITE  >  2. MONITOR  >  3. NUDGE  >  4. REPEAT
The single most important thing you can do as a Presto Account Manager is ensure the right people are added to the approved sender list for your Presto user. These approved senders—whom we call “Presto Friends”—are the only ones whose emails will be allowed to get through the system. There are three ways to add people to the Presto Friends list:

Presto Friends

Three Ways to Add Presto Friends:

i. Add them online
 – Presto Account Managers chose a username and password when signing up for the Presto Mail service. This allows them to access the PrestoConnect account manager website located at: http://account.presto.com. To add a friend or family member to a user’s Presto Friends list, sign in to PrestoConnect, and select “Add a friend” in the teal “Friends” section. On the window that opens, be sure to fill out as much of the information as you can because many times, people use more than one email address to send email to their Presto user (i.e. work, personal, gmail, etc.). Try to also input their name and phone numbers which will be printed on the top of each Presto Mail printout to facilitate callbacks.

PrestoConnect Friends Card Request

ii. Call Presto and have us add them for you – Presto Users and Account Managers can also call Presto CustomerCare toll-free at 1(800) 919-3199 between the hours of 6:30am—3:30pm Pacific, Mon.—Fri. Names on the Presto Friends list can be added or deleted, or contact information can be updated after Presto users or account managers verify their identity to the Presto CustomerCare agent.

iii. Let family and friends add themselves – When the Printing Mailbox first connected with the Presto Mail service, it printed out a welcome packet and a sheet of “Presto Friends Cards.” These are incredibly handy items, printed 8 to a page like business cards, ready to be cut apart with scissors.

Presto Friends Cards

On each card, instructions and a unique, one-time security code are printed that allow someone to add themselves to your Presto user’s approved sender list. These cards are great for giving to a trusted service professional’s office (i.e. doctor, handyman, caregiving company, retirement community office, or neighbor) so that they can send written notifications, instructions or announcements to your Presto user via email. Another sheet of Friends Cards can be forced to print by calling Presto CustomerCare or by signing on to: PrestoConnect and then clicking on Manage Friends and look for the underlined link in the top paragraph: click on: “Presto Friends Card.”   

SCREEN-Friends-Page-Inset


1. INVITE  
>  2. MONITOR  >  3. NUDGE  >  4. REPEAT

As Presto Account Manager, you have the unique ability to see who is sending mail to your Presto user and how often. You cannot read those private messages, but you can see the frequency statistics by visiting: PrestoConnect > View Activity Details > Friends Activity or > Printing Mailbox Activity. On either page, you will see all of the approved senders and how many emails they have sent over the last 30 days. In the Printing Mailbox Activity page, you will also see all printouts of subscription pages. This will give you an overview of how digitally connected your Presto user has become, or if change happens over time.


1. INVITE  
>  2. MONITOR  >  3. NUDGE  >  4. REPEAT

Everyone needs a good kick in the rear now and then. Presto makes that easy by putting a “nudge” link right next to the activity report for each approved sender. Clicking “nudge” auto-composes an email addressed to the corresponding Presto Friend with a canned message of encouragement. Or, you can change the message to personalize it before sending.

Presto Nudge feature


1. INVITE  
>  2. MONITOR  >  3. NUDGE  >  4. REPEAT

For Presto families, it seems that: “The price of family connection is eternal vigilance.” As the Presto Account Manager, you are in a unique position to have situational awareness of your Presto user’s online socialization. The best thing to do is set a reminder for yourself once a month on a calendar or in your smart phone to review the Presto Friends List and update any contact info changes, review how many emails have been delivered and from who, and nudge those who need nudging. This simple task performed a dozen times a year will go a long way to improving the live of your Presto user. It will also help ease the job of being a family caregiver just a little by spreading around the task of keeping mom or dad’s in the know about family events to everyone in the family.

Bottom Line: no one in your Presto user’s friends and family network needs to know that Presto even exists. They just need to know your mom or dad’s Presto-provided email address. Once they do—and once the approved senders’ email addresses are put into the Presto system—all anyone needs to do is…send an email…with a photo…or an occasional PDF document. Presto is like leading the proverbial horse to water, but you can’t make him email grandma. Encourage everyone to put your Presto users on their family distribution lists. Have the local senior center email announcements via Presto. And be sure to remind people to keep mom and dad in the electronic family loop. They may not have text messaging, Skype, or Facebook, but grandma and grandpa now have email without any of the hassle or cost of a computer and Internet connection.

10 New Year’s Resolutions To Make Caregiving Easier

If you are someone who helps care for a loved one—like your Mom or Dad—who either don’t use or who struggle with computers, here are 10 simple ways to make your life easier while greatly improving their quality of life.

Presto-Email-Printer-Receiving1. Resolve to give an email machine to Mom/Dad, like Presto.
Those reading this who already have Presto, just skip to resolution number two. But if you are helping care for loved ones who don’t have a way to receive an email, well, you’re working too hard. And, more importantly, your loved ones aren’t benefiting from all of the digital connection we all take for granted. So for 2013, if your Mom or Dad don’t use a computer, or they get little value out of the old one that you gave them last year that they find is too hard to use, resolve to get them digitally connected this year. A great choice is the Presto Printing Mailbox ($99.99) with Presto Mail service ($14.99/mo.). With no computer or Internet service required, this is the inexpensive and simple way to ensure Mom and Dad benefit from being “in the loop” with all of those family emails and photos. And, with no contracts required plus a moneyback guarantee, you won’t get stuck with yet another tech gadget that your folks won’t use. Presto guarantees they will love it, and the experience of tens of thousands of other families prove it as well.

2. Resolve to schedule emails to Mom/Dad ahead of time.

20% of Americans help take care of an elder family member while they are still raising their own kids. If this is you, face it, you don’t have time to write and mail letters or make as many phone calls as you might want to. A great way to optimize your time is to plan out communications and schedule them ahead of time. With Presto, when you get that free minute after the kids go to bed Sunday night, you can plan out and write emails to your Mom/Dad for the upcoming week and schedule them for automatic delivery. This is a great way to keep ahead of your care duties plus you can cc: other family members or paid care providers to keep them in the loop. And best of all, Mom/Dad get the ongoing social engagement they need to keep them happy and healthy.

3. Resolve to get the entire family accustomed to emailing Mom/Dad.

One of the best things you can do for your Mom or Dad is to help prevent the social isolation that inevitably occurs as they age. This is especially true for today’s elders, many whom do not have the benefit of digital connection with family and friends. Whether because of the passing of their close friends, or as a result of a move to a new location, social disconnection as they age is almost inevitable. And while those of us who use social media are connected to our friends 24/7, our digitally disconnected loved ones are at high risk of becoming lonely. So even after you get your Mom/Dad a Presto Printing Mailbox, it may still be an effort to “train” your extended family to send frequent emails and photos. Luckily, Presto lets you see who has emailed Mom or Dad (although you can’t read their mail) and even provides a way to “nudge” family members into remembering to send mail more frequently. If you make it your mission to get the kids, grandkids, cousins, aunts and uncles to keep your Mom or Dad in mind, it will go a long way towards enriching their lives with the feelings that can only come from connection to family.mail_fan

4. Resolve to include Mom/Dad on extended family members’ email distribution lists.

So many extended families use email to keep everyone in the loop these days, they often each create an email distribution list so they can easily fire off a group message, a funny joke, or photo of little Johnny’s first home run. Because they aren’t used to your Mom or Dad having an email address, it is often like pulling teeth to get them to remember to add a new email address to their distribution lists. Be persistent! Every time you see a group email from a relative, take a look to see if your Mom or Dad’s Presto email address is on there. If it isn’t, reply to the sender and suggest that they add it “right now” before they forget. It’s a small thing, but one that can have a big impact on keeping your folks in the electronic family loop.

FOTO Family Memories Binder - cropped5. Resolve to get Mom/Dad an email keepsake binder.
One thing we have found at Presto is that Mom and Dad don’t perceive printouts from a Presto Printing Mailbox as “email.” Instead, they perceived them as treasured keepsakes. We all get so much junk email, that we tend to forget the humanity behind receiving a handwritten letter. For digital newbies like Mom and Dad, they think of a piece of Presto Mail as if it were a letter received in their mailbox, which in times past were saved in that shoebox under the bed. You can help promote the good feelings that come from family communication by buying your Presto users a few nice three-ring binders. You can even buy paper that is pre-punched with three holes from the Presto website. The binder will help those trips down memory lane while being a physical artifact that represents their connection with family. Best of all, the binder isn’t my idea. It is what we’ve been told by many, many customers that they do with their parents.

6. Resolve to sign Mom/Dad up for ongoing email subscription.
Besides connection with family and friends, there is a great wide world out there of other information sources and services that deliver their content via email. You can direct these emails to be automatically delivered by Presto just by adding the company or organization to the Presto approved senders list. Many churches deliver their weekly bulletins by email, plus more and more doctor’s offices communicate with patients that way, as well. Even local community events are many times broadcast to area residents by email. Feeling connected to a community can be just as powerful as being connected to family for someone who lives alone.Subscriptions

Presto also includes a few hundred subscriptions to puzzles, games, news sources and articles that can be a great additional benefit to Mom and Dad. Thousands of Presto users enjoy getting a daily dose of their favorite comic strip, crossword or Sudoku puzzle. And many others can’t wait to receive Andy Rooney’s favorite columns or the latest from Doctor Oz. A number of these are free with the Presto service, and most others are very low cost. The Presto Newsstand is a great way to promote cognitive engagement.

7. Resolve to get the grandkids to auto-send Facebook photos to Mom/Dad via email.

Even though younger family members have email addresses required by their schools, they rarely use email to communicate with their peers, choosing rather to use Facebook, Instagram, or other social media. Luckily, there is a free Facebook App called Presto DailySmile that automatically delivers a photo-a-day to a Presto Printing Mailbox user. All someone needs to do is sign up for Presto DailySmile on Facebook, or at http://www.prestodailysmile.com…it’s free! Members can then “tag” photos from albums on Facebook or upload them from their computer to the Presto Printing Mailbox user’s “photo queue.” These photos are then delivered automatically once a day, or at whatever frequency the sender chooses. The Presto user gets a “daily smile” even though the sender can pre-load the photo queue with up to 365 photos. Presto DailySmile is a great way to connect generations with minimal effort.

FOTO Medication Reminder - cropped8. Resolve to schedule strategic “quality of life” messages.
Social engagement isn’t only about fun. Presto Mail can also be a significant tool to improve an elder loved one’s quality of life. Some Presto users have created pre-scheduled daily automatic medication reminder printouts that include pill photos and instructions for taking them. Some Moms and Dads find these extremely helpful for remembering whether they have taken their meds that day. Other Presto users schedule periodic “To-Do” lists for their Mom/Dad or paid caregivers in the home. These range from reminders to clear out the fridge of all expired food to reminders for upcoming doctor’s visits with questions to remember to ask. Some caregivers even send Google Maps directions to the Presto Printing Mailbox when they arrange for friends or neighbors to drive Mom/Dad to an appointment. I have used Presto to deliver gifts of Fandango movie tickets, airline boarding passes, and printouts of interesting articles. These are all commonplace things to do for those of us who use the Internet every day. But being able to open up our non-computer using parents to the world wide web—in a safe and user-friendly way—makes them feel more involved in modern-day life.

9. Resolve to keep the love flowing with auto-paper/ink replenishment.

Presto is extremely easy to set up and use: electric power, regular phone line, ink and paper. That’s it…no Internet service or personal computer needed. But periodically, Mom/Dad will need more ink and paper in their Presto Printing Mailbox. This unique machine was designed by HP to be simple and easy to replenish by anyone, even those of advanced age. And the Printing Mailbox reports its ink status to a website for Presto Account Managers—meaning, you—to see if ink is low or paper has run out. You can resolve to make your life easier by signing up for the Presto Supplies Subscription service, where we detect when ink is low, and automatically mail a replacement ink cartridge to Mom/Dad’s address in time for replacement. You can even include a ream of paper every other cartridge if you choose to. This is a great way to automate your parent’s communication infrastructure and take one more think off of your to-do list.

Betty Cards - cropped10. Resolve to get Mom/Dad to grow their own list of email friends.
Your Mom and Dad have spent their entire lives being independent. We have found that it is important for them to not feel that they have no control over their communication technology. So a neat feature of Presto is that their Printing Mailbox prints out a sheet of “business cards” that contain instructions for securely adding someone to their approved sender list. All Mom or Dad has to do is hand the card to someone they want to be able to send them email, and the sender just needs to follow the instructions on the card. Alternately, Mom or Dad can just call Presto’s toll-free help line, and request someone to be added. For many users, this lets them feel in control of who communicates with them and therefore feel more independent.

Resolving to Resolve
We know from tens of thousands of current Presto subscribers that taking action on the above 10 items will make your life easier, and your loved ones lives better. Presto was created to do both, with the absolute minimum of cost and hassle along the way. I’ve put links below for further investigation of the above topics.

So what are YOU going to resolve to do? Please feel free to comment below.

Peter Radsliff
PrestoCEO

LINKS FOR MORE INFO:

#1 Buy Presto or Moneyback Guarantee

#2 Schedule Presto Mail

#6 Presto Newsstand

#7 Presto DailySmile

#9 Supplies Subscription