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Texting for Seniors

picture of seniors texting

Cell phones have revolutionized our lives, maybe as much as any other invention in recent memory. My son-in-law Jim and I were talking about it recently and we each gave several great examples from our lives of where having a cell phone made a difficult situation much more manageable ... or in one case, of how my traveling through an extremely heavy snowfall in 1974 (a total of 22 inches!) would have been very different if I had had a cell phone.

Earlier this year I was surprised to read that cell phones are now used more for data than for calls. (Among many things, data includes Internet activity, various apps, music, games, and especially texting.) There's even something now called tethering, whereby you use your cell phone as a modem for your laptop to access the Internet. I have noticed more and more seniors with cell phones and wonder whether they use them most for calling. I pay for limited texting on my cell phone (250 messages a month) and text mainly my kids, a couple of friends, and a few students. We're trying to decide whether to add texting to Becka's cell phone.

One part of texting that I'm not too good at is the use of acronyms or abbreviations to cut down on the number of characters in a message — for instance, ttyl is "talk to you later" and thx is "thanks." It's not always easy to figure out what some of them mean. Today's post is a list of acronyms seniors might use in their texting.

Texting for Seniors

BTW: Bring the wheelchair

LOL: Living on Lipitor

OMG: Oy, my grandchildren!

ROFL. CGU: Rolling on the floor laughing. Can't get up!

IMHO: Is my hearing-aid on?


SUP: Speak up, please

TGIF: Thank goodness it's four (Four o'clock — Early Bird Special)

BF: Betablockers' friend

FYI: For your indigestion

JK: Just kvetching

GTG: Get the Geritol

TTYL: Talk to you louder

DWI: Driving while incontinent

BYOT: Bring your own teeth

LWO: Lawrence Welk's on!

MGAD: My grandson's a doctor

TALNINFTCW: Thanks a lot! Now I'll never finish that crossword!

GOML: Get off my lawn!

WIWYA: When I was your age....

I'll end with a funny cartoon I received this week. It's not just seniors who are baffled by modern technology.

picture of wireless technology

Do you have a cell phone? Do you use it more for calling or for data? Do any of you seniors do texting? I look forward to the thoughts of my readers of all ages on the texting phenomenon.


"When God promises something, it happens." - Drew Conley

=^..^= =^..^=

Q: What's one of the best things about being old?
A: No more calls from life insurance salesmen.

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24 Comments on “Texting for Seniors”

  1. #1 Kim G
    on Dec 16th, 2010 at 6:36 am

    I’m 27. I use my phone exclusively for calling (except when my pastor’s wife texts me to say hi). I know I’m out of date already, but I don’t care. I enjoy a simpler life.

    Rob adds: Thanks for your perspective, Kim. It will be interesting to see what others say.

  2. #2 Nancy McGuire
    on Dec 16th, 2010 at 7:22 am

    We text all the time and have to empty our text message every couple of days! I love keeping contact with our children and students via text.

    Rob adds: And that’s from someone slightly older than I…. Thanks, Nancy!

  3. #3 Carol Ramsey Pantele
    on Dec 16th, 2010 at 7:41 am

    I use my phone more for texting than talking. I text family and church family as well as handle a lot of lesson scheduling with students. My students and their parents know that is the best way to reach me when I’m teaching.

    Rob adds: It is a handy way to get a message to someone when you or they aren’t available to talk.

  4. #4 Vikki
    on Dec 16th, 2010 at 8:10 am

    I rarely get an actual call. I use it mainly for communicating with my sister, our four kids living in Wisconsin, and a few friends. I like it because, unless the info is needed immediately, it leaves them (and myself) to answer when it’s convenient instead of having to drop everything to answer the phone.

    Rob adds: My comment here would be the same as it was to Carol’s comment. I never saw a need for texting … until I started texting. 🙂

  5. #5 Michael
    on Dec 16th, 2010 at 8:21 am

    I’m 34 and use my phone primarily for calling. I also have a limited texting plan. I rarely do any abbreviations or acronyms. I also try to write the longest texts possible that will fit within one message. In other words, I don’t do these short, trite texts that many people (especially younger people) do. So, I guess I kind of treat texting like it’s a simplified form of e-mail.

    Rob adds: I use my phone far more to call than to text, but I do appreciate both functions. Being a perfectionist, I have a hard time sending a text message in which all the punctuation and capitalization are not correct.

  6. #6 Laura Brenneman
    on Dec 16th, 2010 at 8:24 am

    I definitely text more than talk on my cell phone because that’s the only way to communicate with my children. They say they don’t get “stuck talking” that way. Now my husband is the one who calls! 🙂

    Rob adds: My kids are much quicker in texting back than in answering a call.

  7. #7 Nancy
    on Dec 16th, 2010 at 9:18 am

    I’m glad that I already know how to text in preparation for my senior years.

    Please add these helpful acronyms to your list:
    @PHS: At Pharmacy, home soon

    BRLDHS: Bingo running long, don’t hold supper

    Rob adds: Too funny, Nancy! Thanks for the laughs.

  8. #8 Margie Reynolds
    on Dec 16th, 2010 at 9:22 am

    Thanks for the laughs on the senior’s acronyms. Texting is very common here in Singapore. It saves a lot of time and is less intrusive. I get about 500 text messages and 100 minutes of calling per month for a flat rate of about $20. I mostly text. I don’t use it for data, but I might if I had an iphone with a reasonable contract. I’m still dreaming about an ipad. 🙂

    Rob adds: An iPad would be nice indeed. 😀

  9. #9 Ron
    on Dec 16th, 2010 at 9:41 am

    This post was pretty funny Rob. My wife is the one with the cell phone which is used only on occasion. She does have texting now and we find it to be very useful. It is amazing the number of people that have cells who won’t answer a call but will answer a text, especially the grandkids.

    Rob adds: Ron! Do you have grandkids old enough to have cell phones?! Wow!

  10. #10 Jonathan
    on Dec 16th, 2010 at 10:14 am

    I’m behind the times. I’ve been trying to estimate when I’ll catch up, but my abacus won’t calculate that high. Learning the metric system was 10 times easier than keeping up with technology.

    Rob adds: LOL, Jonathan!

  11. #11 David
    on Dec 16th, 2010 at 10:38 am

    Texting is probably the most important thing my phone does 🙂

    btw, the senior acronyms were epic. thanks

    Rob adds: Glad you enjoyed them, David.

  12. #12 Melanie
    on Dec 16th, 2010 at 12:40 pm

    I use my cell phone to call and text (and even that isn’t very much). I don’t care about all the other features on phones these days. My husband and I didn’t really use text messages until we got our new cell phone plan 1 1/2 years ago (we had to pay for each text sent or received before). It’s much nicer to be able to just text “heading home” instead of calling to say that.

    Rob adds: I agree, Melanie.

  13. #13 Marilyn
    on Dec 16th, 2010 at 3:11 pm

    We are seniors and share a limited plan phone used mostly for emergencies. Texting requires too many things to remember so I have only done it a few times when the instruction manual was handy. Alas, I only remember a couple of the common acronyms and now you have messed me up with new meanings!

    Rob adds: Oh no! I forgot how fragile elderly people can be. Sorry. 😉

  14. #14 Jewel
    on Dec 16th, 2010 at 5:50 pm

    *sigh* I don’t like to text BUT I do when I REALLY need to get in touch with my son, DIL, or nieces and nephews because they answer them almost immediately. Go figure. 🙂 My husband, siblings and I still use the telephone. Sounds kind of archaic, hm? LOL

    Rob adds: Thanks for your comment, Jewel. I’m glad I have both since there are people with whom I communicate who prefer one or the other.

  15. #15 Amy Fernandez
    on Dec 16th, 2010 at 7:35 pm

    I don’t use text. Don’t like it. They can use my voicemail if I’m not available.

    Crochety old lady, 😀

    Rob adds: Amy, it’s your cell phone; you’re paying for it; and you can use it however it suits you best. And that’s just fine. 😀

  16. #16 Laura B
    on Dec 16th, 2010 at 8:35 pm

    We only have one cell among us, and it is a simple pay-as-you-talk model, so we don’t do a lot of texting and don’t really miss it . . . but I FINALLY figured out how to email the pictures on the phone to my home inbox . . . I sent myself the one that Glen took of you & Mark at the Wilds, which was WAY too small to see on the phone screen.

    However, we have friends that really go wild with those “apps” that you mentioned . . . they have phones that can be used to talk on the radio frequency we monitor . . . think of it as re-inventing the “party line”! They can hear everyone on the radio and all of us can hear them, even if they are out of normal radio range. Amazing.

    Rob adds: I never heard of the hi-tech “party line” you described. Party lines were fairly common in my childhood, often by necessity. My wife has a good soup recipe that her grandmother overheard on her party line. Great stuff!

  17. #17 deb :)
    on Dec 17th, 2010 at 1:46 am

    I went to a band concert of our grandson Dalton’s tonight, and it was awesome. I was amazed of the talent of 4th to 6th graders! My grandson had text messaged me 2 times during the program, which I did not get, because I turned my phone off during their performance. When I saw him after the concert, he was waiting for me outside of the auditorium, and asked me, “didn’t you get my txts?” I was sorry to say that I did not! Wow, How far technology has come. We have learned soo much from him at 11 yrs. old, on the internet and cell phones, that we did not know. It is scary!!!!!! 🙂

    Rob adds: That’s funny, Deb. I’m right with you about learning a lot from younger folks when it comes to technology. I still need to have Mark program our VCR on one of his visits. 😀 But it’s nice that we’ve still got them beat on life experience issues and can help them navigate some waters we’ve already gone through.

  18. #18 Gaye Wynn
    on Dec 17th, 2010 at 9:43 am

    Those acronyms were terrific! Now if I can just remember them!?!? Working with teens (and now married sons and daughters-in-law), texting has become a necessary tool in my life! I still have problems using the acronyms, etc.; the English teacher in me still proofreads (at least most of the time :)) and wants to use capitalization, punctuations, etc., correctly! Thanks, Rob, for entertaining us with your findings! Merry Christmas!

    Rob adds: I feel your pain. Being at least slightly OCD, I want my texts to look basically like e-mails. Glad you enjoyed the humor, Gaye.

  19. #19 Caroline
    on Dec 17th, 2010 at 10:35 am

    i have unlimited texting on my phone and 250 calling minutes. i rarely use any of the calling minutes, but every month i’m glad that i have unlimited texting! i use around 1000 texts a month! 🙂

    Rob adds: Wow, Caroline! I might use more if I weren’t paranoid about getting too close to my 250 text limit. Thanks for adding your perspective to this discussion.

  20. #20 Sarah
    on Dec 17th, 2010 at 2:29 pm

    I’m 28, but most of my friends are a lot younger and have been badgering me to get a texting plan for a while. I resisted for a long time because I didn’t see a need for it and I hate the bad English! (Not to mention that giving in would mean losing the argument! 🙂

    I finally added texting to my phone because everyone kept texting me anyways. There still isn’t a technical ‘need’ for it — but I sure use it a lot anyways! It comes in handy in our town where cell phone usage is not allowed while driving and most of my friends never check their phone messages. Now if we could only teach them not to TEXT while driving…

    Rob adds: I hope you win in getting your friends not to text while driving. If so, you may keep your friends longer.

  21. #21 Doug
    on Dec 17th, 2010 at 10:27 pm

    I use the data plan on my phone to connect to the net and transcribe my voice into text messages (and emails). I defintely use more data than voice but I often find myself near 1000 minutes a month too. I suppose I don’t count since it’s my job to stay connected 🙂

    Rob adds: Thanks for your perspective, Doug. Wow, that’s really techy!

  22. #22 bj
    on Dec 18th, 2010 at 1:54 pm

    It is very rural where I live, and cell phone signal is very low to non-existent. We can text with the lowest amount of signal, but can’t talk unless we have more “bars”. So, we text a lot. About the only way to get ahold of us. Also, it is handy when we are in a store, or library, or something like that where it is odd to be talking aloud for everyone to hear.

    Rob adds: That’s an interesting situaiton, bj, but it makes sense.

  23. #23 Carrie
    on Dec 19th, 2010 at 5:54 pm

    I’m 38 and have resisted having a cell phone for years! My husband got me a pay-as-you-go phone for the winter, since it has been around -30 lately (that’s 30 below zero!) and we have an infant. It seemed like a responsible thing to do. 😮

    Rob adds: I’m glad you have a means of communication as you travel around up there in the frozen tundra.

  24. #24 Nancy
    on Dec 21st, 2010 at 9:27 am

    One parting thought: when we were in Manilla five years ago, texting was the preferred method of communication between the missionaries, their families, and church members. It was the least expensive and most efficient form of communication. They were amazed that we were so unfamiliar with texting. We, too, have unlimited texting and paid calling. It has worked out well for us.

    Rob adds: Thanks for sharing that, Nancy. Who woulda thunk it? I remembered being surprised when my students in China texted and up would pop Chinese characters!