When Veronica Steele first started using LastPass many years ago, she could not have envisioned the role it would play in her life in the years to come. When she shared her family’s story with us, we were humbled that LastPass helped, in some small way, with the challenges her family faced, and want to share their story with the LastPass community.
In July 2013, Veronica’s father Jim was diagnosed with ALS, commonly known as Lou Gherig’s disease. Within a year, his mobility was greatly reduced, ultimately limiting him to a wheelchair. The progression of the disease also took a great toll on the mobility of his hands and fingers. He increasingly needed help with the everyday tasks that most do without thinking, like checking email, paying bills, and reading the news.
“When he started to lose more mobility, especially with his fingers, that’s when I decided we needed to help my dad however we could – with computers, technology, all of it,” she said.
Veronica and her two sisters saw how devastating this decrease in independence was to their father. His mind was still extremely sharp, so they begin to research ways to help him. They purchased a tablet for him so he could go online more easily. As Veronica got him setup with the iPad, she noticed a paper notepad with all of his passwords on his desk.
“At the time, he was working with my mom to make sure she understood where their bank accounts were, every account under the sun, because he managed all of their accounts,” she said. “She would sit with him, do it with him, but he was the one with all the knowledge. So there was a time of knowledge transfer between my parents. As they were doing that, I’m looking at this legal pad and thinking, ‘oh gosh, there is a better way.’”
Veronica created LastPass accounts for both of her parents. She added all of those passwords to her mom Noelle’s account, and then shared them with her father’s account. She spent an afternoon teaching her parents how LastPass worked. From saving sites to launching them to using the mobile apps and setting up fingerprint access, Veronica’s parents learned everything about LastPass. They immediately saw how it helped their daily lives – and how it would help them prepare for the future.
“When you’re caring for a parent with ALS, you have so many things on your plate. The day-to-day life of living with someone with ALS is exhausting. The last thing you need is to get locked out of accounts. It was all those little things that would frustrate my mom or my dad, and LastPass worked for them. It was wonderful.”
A few months later, Jim’s hand mobility was limited to just his thumb and index fingers. But with those two fingers, he could easily log into LastPass with his thumbprint, launch the sites he wanted to, and check out the sports scores that he followed. “One afternoon he said to me, ‘I can’t thank you enough for getting me set up with LastPass.’” Being able to maintain some of his independence, and use the apps and sites he loved, relieved some of the stress that inevitably comes with ALS.
“He didn’t have to worry about trying to type or get help with anything. He also had peace of mind for my mom, and all of their accounts – insurance, finances – everything was in LastPass. He knew when he passed that it would be okay.”
In November 2015, Veronica’s father passed away from ALS. While there is no way to emotionally prepare for such a loss, Veronica, her mom, and her sisters were logistically prepared with LastPass. As they transitioned their life, they had all of her father’s personal information — social security number, insurance, credit cards — in LastPass, accessible anytime from her mom’s phone, so they always had what they needed. With all the details they needed to manage the inevitable paperwork and day-to-day tasks during that time, “it made our grieving possible,” Veronica said.
Veronica also got married about a month after her father’s passing. LastPass became instrumental once again as Veronica and her new husband discussed how to merge their digital lives. They decided to share all of their accounts in LastPass, from cable to credit cards to streaming video, so they both would have access to the accounts they need.
“He doesn’t have to think about sharing anything with me. It’s just in there. And if something happens, it’s in a secure place.”
Her mom Noelle still uses LastPass now to manage her household accounts and to address any questions that still come up from time-to-time in her husband’s name.
“To this day, the information is secure. We don’t have to worry about identity theft or fraud with his accounts. It’s taken care of. It was just so easy.”
We know it’s not easy to share stories as difficult as this and we want to extend our sincerest thanks to Veronica and her family for sharing it with us, and allowing us to share with all of you. If you have a LastPass story that you’d like to share, just contact our team.