In many ways, my son Nick is a typical guy in his 20s. He stays up all night playing video games, eats a lot of junk food, plays keyboard in a musical group, loves anything tech (and Star Trek). He also has a number of health issues. He was born with a serious heart problem—he’s had six open-heart surgeries and lots of complications. He also has a condition that caused a part of his brain not to develop right, which caused intellectual disabilities. He can’t read, for example.
I always thought he’d have to stay living with me—I even have a garage apartment I rent out that I offered to him. He was like, “No way, you’d be bothering me all the time, Mom!” I help him a lot, but he lives independently, about a 10-minute drive away in the same town in Oregon.
I might have asked him on the phone if he’d taken his meds and eaten his breakfast, but when I’m talking to him on Nucleus, I can see his face is gray and his apartment is a mess. I can get a lot more information.
Part of my day is using technology to check on him. We have an app that reminds him to take his medications, and alerts me if he hasn’t. And I use Nucleus to check on how he’s doing. I tell him to shave before going to his job as a houseman at a hotel, to eat breakfast. I used to be on the phone with him constantly, but there’s something different when you see someone. I might have asked him on the phone if he’d taken his meds and eaten his breakfast, but when I’m talking to him on Nucleus, I can see his face is gray and his apartment is a mess. I can get a lot more information.
It also lets Nick feel present in our house. He’s really friendly and social, which is great for his job, because he greets guests and shows them where to put their luggage, things like that. It also means he can get lonely living by himself. A lot of times I turn it on and go about my business, like washing dishes, and he’s right there with me. We’ve gone over bus schedules like that. He can’t read the schedule, but I can read it to him and show him. And when he says there’s nothing to eat in the house, I have him show me what’s in his fridge, then I show him what he can make from that. If it were up to him, he’d eat linguine with pesto every day. Sometimes I’ll just hear, “Hey Mom, want to talk about robots or solar panels?”
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