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This is kind of urgent - new Ipad with cellular service (to be able to zoom with doctors, etc.)


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So...my inlaws are seriously declining the past couple of months.  Really, really bad this past week.  One of them went to the GP today and we are now in need of more immediate home care for both of them.  They want to assess MIL too, but she can't walk to get to the car or anything.  It got bad really fast.  So...they want to do a televisit, but my in-laws have no WIFI, computers, nothing (they are 94).  No desire to ever have them.

We have ipads, but no cellular because we use them at home with our WiFi.  We have phones that need upgrading (they are from 2014) and it's on the list, but not today or tomorrow at this point.  I don't think that is a feasible option at the moment.

So...I suggested we get can iPad with cellular service to be able to zoom with doctors, check in with home care when they are there and we are not (although we will be very involved and checking on things), to be able to Face Time with us while SIL is over caring for them helping them with the iPad.

Can anyone help me figure out what we need?  We need a bigger iPad (I have a pro so that is big enough) and may want monthly cellular (is that possible) instead of a year long contract?  My son did some research and says we basically buy the iPad and sign up for whatever service we want through the iPad (that it doesn't matter where we buy it)?  Is one service better than another? 

Any help would be greatly appreciated because DH and SIL are exhausted already and I am figuring out all their meds and other stuff from home and have to get their taxes done this weekend so that is off the plate (FIL is worrying about them).  

 

 

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Could you use one of the cell phones (yours or sil's) as a hot spot for your iPad? Or just buy a hot spot? I have no idea on cost, but that might be another option.

I'm sorry to hear your il's are declining so quickly.

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My dd and her dh often bring a a little travel/portable wi-fi unit, that you just plug in, when we travel together.  You pay a certain amount online for when you want to use it, wherever you are, and for as long as you think you'll need it.   For example, we've often paid for just a week or two.  Then it sits in a closet until it's needed again, and when it is, you go online and put more money into the account.  I image you could manage the account yourself since you have wifi, or perhaps you can even put money into it by calling a phone number.  Would something like that work?

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We were thinking of getting the iPad mini with cellular for me. However I do all my video conferencing calls with my medical specialists via iPhone. It’s just easier than holding an iPad steady. I do have a T-mobile hotspot for when I am not at home. 
If you buy an unlocked version from Apple or Best Buy or anywhere else, and not discounted by the carrier, you could just pay monthly instead of being lock into an annual contract.

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I got an IPad from Verizon that was ready to become a phone.  I am not sure that they can be retrofitted with that feature, so I’d check on that first.  I ended up not hooking up the phone line to it as intended, for quite a long time, because I couldn’t literally use it as a phone except to other IPhones.  That was a loss of function on that line that I was not willing to accept.  However, when I started WFH where the internet was poor, I had the IPad hooked up to a second line on my husband’s unlimited Verizon account, and I could access the internet more reliably that way than by using my Android phone as a hot spot for my computer.  In fact, at times I used the IPad as a hot spot for the computer, and that worked pretty well.  

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Do you already have a monthly cellular plan with multi lines (a family plan)? If so I'd first check to see how much it would cost to add another line. It might not be feasible, but OTOH it might be much less expensive than other options. If you don't already have a family plan I don't think adding another line inexpensively is an option. Do remember to check coverage maps for whatever cell service you get.

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Thank you everyone!  I will look at the options you've suggested and also have DS help me.  DH is back over his parents for a very early phone call so I'm not even sure this is worth it, but I will look!

@Carol in Cal. Mine doesn't have a cellular option.  Dh surprised me with it a few years ago and said we didn't need the cellular.  To be honest, I use it at home and sometimes (before Covid) I would take it places that had Wifi.  I use it all the time and we've never needed cellular until now.

@Pawz4me We do, but it is an old, old grandfathered in Verizon plan (probably not even very economical anymore).  I will try and call today and look into that as an option.  I've wanted to update everything for a while, but that hasn't happened so we are dealing with what we have 😋.

 

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OP I suggest that you use what Engineers call the "KISS" technique. That stands for "Keep it Simple Stupid".

I suggest a big cell phone. If you involve multiple devices you exacerabate the possibility of them becoming confused and/or not having all of the devices they need available to them.

And if their physical location changes, the cell phone will still allow them to communicate with their doctors and with you and your DH.

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28 minutes ago, Lanny said:

OP I suggest that you use what Engineers call the "KISS" technique. That stands for "Keep it Simple Stupid".

I suggest a big cell phone. If you involve multiple devices you exacerabate the possibility of them becoming confused and/or not having all of the devices they need available to them.

And if their physical location changes, the cell phone will still allow them to communicate with their doctors and with you and your DH.

But isn't an iPad with cellular connectivity pretty much a (really) big phone?

ETA: But I definitely wouldn't be using a Mifi or any other portable hot spot device. I do think that's just asking for needless complication. I don't see any benefit for multiple devices versus just one.

Edited by Pawz4me
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19 minutes ago, Pawz4me said:

But isn't an iPad with cellular connectivity pretty much a (really) big phone?

ETA: But I definitely wouldn't be using a Mifi or any other portable hot spot device. I do think that's just asking for needless complication. I don't see any benefit for multiple devices versus just one.

Yes, this is correct. My iPad with cellular service has its own phone number on our plan. It is much easier to FaceTime and zoom on it than a phone. 

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1 hour ago, Lanny said:

OP I suggest that you use what Engineers call the "KISS" technique. That stands for "Keep it Simple Stupid".

I suggest a big cell phone. If you involve multiple devices you exacerabate the possibility of them becoming confused and/or not having all of the devices they need available to them.

And if their physical location changes, the cell phone will still allow them to communicate with their doctors and with you and your DH.

We will think about a cell phone.  Definitely need cellular and they will never be using them.  Whoever is with them will be using them.

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, scholastica said:

Yes, this is correct. My iPad with cellular service has its own phone number on our plan. It is much easier to FaceTime and zoom on it than a phone. 

Thank you!  Yes, this is really what we should do.  And @Pawz4me you are correct, we need easy, easy, easy!  SIL has a prepaid phone with no text or internet.  She is the other primary caretaker right now.  She is not great with technology.  DH and the boys will have to teach her how to use the iPad.  I spent 2 hours a few years ago with her showing her how to upload pictures to Walmart for printing if that tells you anything.

And...after thinking, the hot spot working off DH's wifi won't work because he would have to be over there for that.

And...we (my boys especially) can FT with them very easily with them from our iPad to theirs.  This is even easy for my dad to do with us.  With Covid, we are still having to be cautious as we are all trying to get vaccines.

 

Edited by mlktwins
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Either get a device with built in wifi/cellular for them to have at their house.

OR-- you can get a wireless hot spot for their house and they can use your current ipad ...  we used wireless hot spots for our primary internet for years... you just plug them in (they are about 4 inches across and can sit on a shelf out of the way).  It should only take a few minutes to set it up with a password that is easy to remember....

Limit the number of apps on each view screen to make the device as user friendly as possible.

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3 hours ago, Pawz4me said:

But isn't an iPad with cellular connectivity pretty much a (really) big phone?

ETA: But I definitely wouldn't be using a Mifi or any other portable hot spot device. I do think that's just asking for needless complication. I don't see any benefit for multiple devices versus just one.

Not necessarily.  Be sure to check whether you can text or call other phones that are not IPhones from it.  

Also, it occurs to me that I have never actually figured out how to use my IPad as a cell phone to make calls.  I know how to text but not how to call.  I am positive there is a way, but it’s not super intuitive.  It’s great for Zoom and other laptop type stuff but unwieldy as a camera and not intuitive as a phone.  That might not be so great for an old person.

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1 hour ago, Carol in Cal. said:

Not necessarily.  Be sure to check whether you can text or call other phones that are not IPhones from it.

I don't understand how or why any device that has its own phone number wouldn't be able to do that? It makes no sense at all to me that that would be a possibility. The texts and calls are going out over the phone connection via whoever the provider is (Verizon, AT&T, etc.). I don't see how it's any different than an iPhone?

Edited by Pawz4me
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1 hour ago, Pawz4me said:

I don't understand how or why any device that has its own phone number wouldn't be able to do that? It makes no sense at all to me that that would be a possibility. The texts and calls are going out over the phone connection via whoever the provider is (Verizon, AT&T, etc.). I don't see how it's any different than an iPhone?

Here’s what I know:  I was warned at the Verizon store that I would only be able to contact other I devices via phone if I put this on my extra phone line.  That is why I did not do so.  

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