SHOULD MY LOVED ONE BE PLACED IN AN ASSISTED COMPUTING FACILITY ("ACF") ?
For family members, it is often the most difficult and painful decision they will face: to accept that a loved one - a parent, a spouse, perhaps a sibling - is technologically impaired and should no longer be allowed to live independently, or come near a computer or electronic device without direct supervision. The time has come to place that loved one into the care of an Assisted Computing Facility. We at Silicon Pines want to help.
WHAT EXACTLY IS AN "ASSISTED COMPUTING FACILITY" ?
Sometimes referred to as "Homes for the Technologically Infirm," "Technical Invalid Care Centers," or "Homes for the Technically Challenged," Assisted Computing Facilities (ACFs) are modeled on assisted living facilities, and provide a safe, structured residential environment for those unable to handle even the most common, everyday multitask. Most fully accredited ACFs, like Silicon Pines, are an oasis of hope and encouragement that allow residents to lead productive, technologically relevant lives without the fear and anxiety associated with actually having to understand or execute the technologies themselves.
WHO SHOULD BE IN AN ACF ?
Sadly, technology is advancing at such a dramatic rate that many millions, of all ages, will never truly be able to understand it, putting an undue burden on those friends and family members who must explain it to them. But unless the loved one is suffering from a truly debilitating affliction, such as Reinstallzheimers, the decision to commit is entirely personal. You must ask yourself:
"How frustrated am I that my parent/sibling/spouse is unable to open an email attachment?"
"How much of my time should be taken up explaining how RAM is different from hard drive memory?"
"How many times can I bear to hear my dad say, 'Hey, can I replace the motherboard with a fatherboard? Ha ha ha!'"
To make things easier, we have prepared a list of Warning Signs which we encourage you to return to often, or, if you can't figure out how to bookmark it, print out. Also, please take a moment to read "I'm Glad I'm in Here! - A Resident's Story."
MUST IT BE FAMILY, OR CAN I PLACE ANYONE IN AN ACF ?
Several corporations have sought permission to have certain employees, or at times entire sales departments, committed to ACFs. At present, however, individuals can be committed only by direct family or self-internment. The reason is simple: there are not nearly enough ACFs in the world to accommodate all the technologically challenged. For example, there are currently only 860,000 beds available in ACFs, but there are 29 million AOL users.
HOW OLD MUST I BE TO HAVE SOMEONE COMMITTED ?
Until very recently, you had to be 18 or older to legally commit a family member. However, the now famous British court case Frazier vs. Frazier and Frazier has cleared the way for minors to commit their parents. In that case, 15-year-old Bradley Frazier of Leicester had his 37-year-old parents committed to an ACF in Bournemouth after a judge ruled Ian and Janet Frazier were a "danger to themselves and the community." According to court records, Bradley told his parents about the I LoveYou virus and warned them not to click attachments, then the next day his parents received an I LoveYou email and clicked on the attachment because, they explained, "it came from someone we know."
WHAT SHOULD I LOOK FOR IN AN ACF ?
First, make sure it's a genuine Assisted Computing Facility, and not an Assisted Living Facility. To tell the difference, observe the residents.
If they look rather old and tend to openly discuss bowel movements, this is probably 'assisted living.' On the other hand, if they vary in age and say things like, "I'm supposed to figure that out? I'm not Bill %#$!*ing Gates you know!," this is probably 'assisted computing.'
Also, at a well-run ACF, residents should lead full, independent lives, and should be allowed the use of many technology devices, including telephones, electric toothbrushes, and alarm clocks. However, only a facility's Licensed Techcare Professionals (LTPs) should perform computational or technological tasks such as installing programs or saving email attachments. And LTPs should NEVER answer residents' questions because studies have shown that answering user questions inevitably makes things worse. Instead, residents should simply have things done for them, relieving them of the pressure to "learn" or "improve."
CAN A RESIDENT EVER GET OUT ?
No - too dangerous.
OK, THIS SOUNDS PROMISING. HOW CAN I LEARN MORE ?
For your enlightenment, we offer extensive information on Silicon Pines and the ACF lifestyle. But whatever you decide, keep in mind that due to demand, ACFs now have long waiting lists. Web TV, MSN and AOL users alone will take years to absorb.
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Unless otherwise noted, all photos and text is Copyright © Richard G Lowe, Jr.