We all feel how busy our families are these days, but don't let that get in the way of your most important relationships. Here are some ideas collected by the in-home caregiving staff at Home Helpers Home Care.
Let’s face it: We lead busy lives.
Many of us can even cite statistics to demonstrate how just about every member of the household is overscheduled with daily or weekly engagements ranging from sports practice to music lessons to gym visits. It’s no surprise all this running around makes it difficult to keep in touch with older family members, who all too often are cut from the weekly schedule if they’re local or miss regular check-ins if they live far away.
Our in-home caregiving staff at Home Helpers suggests these communication tips for keeping your elderly family members in the loop.
Technology offers some solutions:
- Take advantage of your down time. These days, a grandchild who is working in a far-off city can call the grandparents from a mobile phone while riding the commuter train one evening each week.
- Include your elders in your photo-sharing habits. Photos of school and family events can be shared in almost real time by email. Remember, your oldest family members may not have access to your Facebook posts.
- Think about easy-to-use digital options. A couple of months ago we shared the idea of sending photos directly to a digital picture frame from anywhere in the world.
One of our caregivers recently offered the example of one family who included their long-distance grandmother in their online family planner subscription. Along with kids’ sports and school calendars, the application displays Grandma’s appointments and social engagements. They discovered that this window into each other’s lives greatly improved those intergenerational phone calls. The kids could now start a conversation by inquiring how the shopping trip went and the grandmother would send notes of encouragement before exams and ask about younger children’s spelling bees.
BUT ALL OF THE DIGITAL TOYS IN THE WORLD CAN’T TAKE THE PLACE OF A DIRECT CONNECTION.
If your loved ones are relatively comfortable with technology, video chats and text messaging might be appropriate. But as many of us age, we become less confident with tech and particularly with those gadgets that have come along in the last few years.
Sometimes the best technology is the oldest.
Like pen and paper.
Getting an actual card or letter in the mail has become so rare anymore that even the most tech-savvy cynics among us can’t help being intrigued, maybe even delighted, when we receive an unexpected envelope addressed by hand. A simple greeting card can brighten our day and let us know someone is thinking of us. It also can be a vehicle for sharing share things like photos (you still can get those things printed on paper, I promise), artwork, copies of report cards and other small touchpoints.
Whatever your or your loved one’s preferred method, regular and meaningful contact is important to all human beings. You may find that taking the time to make these specific and personal connections improves your older adult’s overall well-being in addition to their outlook.