Remotes & Accessories

Help with Roku remotes and accessories, including pairing a remote, setting up TV power & volume control, using voice commands, power adapters, cables, headphones, and wireless speaker accessories.
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Level 7

Need solution for elderly

I need some advice. My elderly father recently moved into assisted living. TV is his only form of entertainment. He has access to wifi but no cable service. He loves sports and news. I have tried streaming services (such as Roku) but the concept is too difficult for our elderly/ those with dementia.   I can not depend upon the help at the property to attend to his tv needs. I am asking for a solution to make him happy and not receive 10 emails a day asking how to watch sports or he doesn't understand how to use the remote that the streaming services provide. Have I missed a feature that Roku can provide? Need to mainstream and simplify for the user. 

Need a platform that shows only sports and news apps- no other preinstalled apps
OR a platform that shows only a typical tv guide that he can scroll and find programs he wants to watch

AND a Simple remote similar to the version that traditional TV and he is familiar with large buttons (on/off, volume, channel up/down only)

I am open to all ideas- even purchasing new technology to make this work! Thanks in advance.

5 Replies
Level 21

Re: Need solution for elderly

Well, you really can't get a simpler remote than a Roku remote. There might be some Smart TVs that have simplified remotes, but accessing the Smart TV functions are more complicated than a Roku home screen. I think a Fire TV interface, being so Amazon-centric, would be more difficult to navigate, as would any Android TV device. 

While Roku shoves a bunch of channels on the home page by default, they can all be removed again to just leave the desired channels. Of course, navigating within each channel will probably differ from each other, but I can't say if it would be too complicated for him. 

If you went with a Roku TV, then you only have a single remote, again with very simple functions. 

Ultra (4640), Ultra (4670), Ultra (4800), Premiere (3920), Insignia 720p Roku TV, Sharp 4K Roku TV, Nvidia Shield, Windows 10 Pro x64 running Serviio and Plex on a wired Gigabit network.
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Level 10

Re: Need solution for elderly

I completely understand your position and needs. My father has early stages of dementia and top that with his understanding of web technology being very limited which only added to confusion... streaming vs cable, buffering, channels and so on plus English is not his strongest of languages. 

So anyhow, what I ended up doing is deleting all apps/channels from the home screen.

Then I wrapped white tape around the buttons he had no use for and created a app/channel for him with the tv channels he wanted.

Named the app a name he was comfortable with and taught him how to press and hold the nic button while saying "Launch (the app name)" which would then launch the app.

I set a cookie saving the last tv stream he was watching from the previous session and had it load and play immediately.

I also programmed the video to stay full screen on launch and throughout, and only programmed the up and down buttons for keypress events, with up and down changing channels accordingly onFocus. Just like the tvs and remotes he was familiar with for decades., I created a overlay labellist which was visible based on keypresses ,I also prepended fake channel numbers right before each tv channel name ie.

1 ABC 


I associated numbers to channels for familiarity reasons, which built confidence and really improved navigating and understanding the user interface and flow.

Anyhow if you need some help or code for the app I created, I will gladly help.

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Level 7

Re: Need solution for elderly

My wife works at a senior living facility and it's very tough for seniors, especially those with Dementia.  One solution they went to was over the air digital, which is free and you use the remote from your TV.  Sure there aren't dedicated channels to just sports, but when events are telecast it's a simple matter of surfing channels.  Over the air is free and any cheap rabbit ears work fine.

Level 7

Re: Need solution for elderly

Wow, you are a saint for doing all that. How can I contact you? @norcaljohnny 

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Level 8

Re: Need solution for elderly

My wife and I are both disabled, and tv is our only real means of entertainment as well. I'm not sure if they still exist, but we once had a universal remote the size of a school text book. We bought that one because she kept losing the regular ones. As for dedicated apps and channels, we have the ESPN channel on our Roku tv, as well as one called News On. It features all the local and national news networks. I hope this helps!!

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