July 18, 2017

Damn, I Forgot ...

Seniors often have an unjustified concern about their memory (or more precisely, the loss of it). How many times have you become upset because you could not find something that you needed or could not remember something you feel you should have remembered? How many of your senior friends have made comments reflecting a similar concern? It is a generally accepted fact that as we age our memories tend to not work as well as they did during our youth. That does not mean that no senior citizen has a memory as sharp as when they were young; it just means that we generally perceive loss of memory as one of the symptoms of aging.

We do not intend to try to debunk the myth that as we age memories tend to lose acuity. We do, however, think that a significant part of the problem results from the fact that as we age, we forget how much we did not remember during our earlier years. We lose track of the number of times we misplaced our keys during our 30s, thinking that the forgetfulness we experience in our 60s, 70s, and 80s represents later onset memory loss (or what one experienced attorney we know started describing as CRS in his late 60s; the acronym “CRS” stands for “Can’t Remember S***”).

Whether you really have suffered a loss of sharpness of your memory due to age, illness, or medication, we have a few tips to help you mitigate the inconvenience.

Set a place for everything and regularly put everything in its place.

This tip comes more under the heading of common sense than tech tip. If you make it a point to take your jewelry off at night and put it in the same place every night or store your keys in the same place every night, you will greatly reduce the likelihood that you will misplace them. Usually, if you do misplace them, it will result from your failure to remember to put them in their usual location.

Give yourself a call.

Lost your phone somewhere in the house or your office, and cannot remember where you put it to save your life? Not a serious problem if you remember to keep the battery charged and leave the phone turned on and not shut off the volume. Just call your number from another phone and listen for the ring, which will guide you to your phone. This approach will work in a variety of situations outside the home and office. We have used it to successfully locate misplaced telephones in cars, in restaurants (the phone fell between cushions on a bench seat), and even once in Poland in a coat when we inadvertently placed the phone in the wrong pocket.

Get the App!

A good bet would be that everyone who reads this has at one point or another heard Apple’s ad about there being an app for everything. Probably we all remember their slogan: “There’s an app for that!” Well, damned near everyone who sells tablets, phones, and computers has a “Find My” whatever app. The app you choose will relate to the device(s) you use: Apple’s “Find my iPhone” (which also works on iPads) or “Find my Mac,” Google’s “Find my device” or another Android find my type app, you can find one for almost every mobile phone and tablet as well as many computers (desktops and laptops). This approach has caught on and you can also find “Find My” apps for a variety of other devices, such as Fitbit monitors.

Use the App!

Getting the App, downloading it and even adding it to your device does little or no good if you don’t set it up and use it. Many of these apps have the side benefit of enabling you to wipe the device’s memory if it is truly lost. None of the find my apps works perfectly, but the iterations we have tried have worked reasonably well and can give you at least a general idea of the location of your misplaced device. For example, the app won’t tell you exactly where in a building you can find it, but it can connect the device with an address to give you a clue where to look. For example, if the app places the device in your office building, you know to look in your office. If it places it in your house, you know to look there. Using the app to locate your device requires you to have another Internet-capable device to search for the missing device.

 One accessory to rule them all!

The find my device type of app has one intrinsic shortcoming. It cannot work unless the device has power. Accordingly, if the battery runs down or someone turns the device off, it does not function unless and until that situation changes. Additionally, the find my style apps only work on electronic devices. You cannot get one that works with your keys, your wallet, your briefcase, your purse or whatever unless, of course, you add electronics to it. Several manufacturers have come to our assistance, offering small electronic devices you can put in your wallet, suitcase, briefcase or purse or attach to your keychain. We have even heard of people attaching them to their pet’s collars to help locate a missing pet. You have your choice of many devices designed to do this job, one that we particularly like is named Tile. The folks at Tile, Inc. (www.thetileapp.com) have offered several versions of the Tile device over the last few years. It has two current iterations, Tile Mate and Tile Slim. Both devices function the same way, but they have different sizes and the Tile Mate has a hole in it to allow for attachment to a key ring or a metal ring that you can then attach to something else. The Slim presents a more slender profile, about as thick as two credit cards. You buy the devices, which have non-rechargeable, non-replaceable batteries that die in about a year. The business model requires that you replace the devices more or less annually. The Tile Mate starts at $25 per device and the Slim starts at $30. Both devices get discounts from the manufacturer when purchased in packs of four or eight. The more you buy, the larger the discount. They also have combination packs that give you a mix of the Tile Mate and the Slim devices. You can also purchase accessories for the devices, such as a luggage tag, money clip or adhesive tape for the Slim or a zip strap or adhesive for the Tile Mate. The devices have (you guessed it) a free app available on the iOS and Android platforms. You associate each Tile to a device and the App locates the Tile and tells you where to locate the object associated with the Tile, effectively giving you a find-my style app that works with electronic and non-electronic devices. We bought a bunch of them and have left them in briefcases, backpacks, computer sleeves, wallets, purses and on key rings. When we travel, we will usually drop one in each of our bags – both checked and carryon – as additional protection against loss.

So stop worrying so much about your memory and let these tips help you keep track of your personal collection of things you really don’t want to lose.

Jeffrey Allen is the principal in the Graves & Allen law firm in Oakland, California, where he has practiced since 1973. He is active in the ABA, the California State Bar Association, and the Alameda County Bar Association. He is a co-author of the ABA book Technology Tips for Seniors.

Ashley Hallene is a petroleum landman at Alta Mesa Holdings, LP, and practices Oil and Gas law, Title Examination, Due Diligence, Acquisitions and Oil and Gas Leasing in Houston, Texas. She frequently speaks in technology CLEs and is Deputy Editor-in-Chief of the Technology and Reviews Department of the GPSolo eReport.