Remember how The Jetsons communicated by videophone in the 1960s cartoon show? Fast-forward to today, and a grandparent trying to connect with grandchildren might feel lost in the world of texting and social media. But there are advantages, and it doesn’t have to be complicated.
At St. Mark Village, we have some suggestions on how you can connect with grandchildren and why the “new” ways might be the best ways!
Tips for seniors to connect with their grandchildren
The older generations grew up using telephones to talk to their parents, friends, business associates and just about everyone else. Things have definitely changed. Today’s teens and young adults would rather text than dial. Here are some reasons why:
- 76% of millennials say texting is more convenient because they can check messages on their own schedule.
- 63% consider texts less disruptive than a phone call.
- 19% prefer receiving texts because they never check their voicemails.
Your granddaughter could be working out at the gym, seeing a movie, or having dinner when your text comes over. She’s much more likely to respond to you than if she had to stop and take your call or check phone mail later. There’s less stress; no awkward silences, no struggling to find common ground in a conversation.
In short, when you text, you’re more likely to get a response (texts have a 98% response rate). You’ll build a rapport with your younger loved ones, and you’ll feel connected.
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Today’s social media channels also offer numerous methods that can help seniors connect with grandchildren:
- Facebook. Whether on your computer, laptop or smartphone, Facebook gives you a quick way to keep in touch and share photos. You can keep up with their interests and their adventures. You can check in daily and wish them well. Just set up an account (name, date of birth, mobile phone number) and complete your profile. Have your grandson or granddaughter send you a “friend” request and you will soon be in business.
- Pinterest. This is a visual bookmarking tool that helps you discover and save (“pin”) ideas for projects, parties, and more. If your grandchild enjoys do-it-yourself (DIY) crafts or baking for example, Pinterest is a great place to go for creative inspiration. When you discover “pins” you love, save them to boards so your ideas organized and easy to find. As they say, Pinterest is “about yourself, not your selfie.” Protections are in place for teens.
- TikTok. This popular social media app allows users to create, watch, and share 15-second videos shot on mobile devices or webcams. With quirky short videos set to music and sound effects, the app is notable for its addictive quality and high levels of engagement. Your grandchildren will tell you: clips with grandparents in them are the hottest thing on TikTok!
These are just a few of the platforms that are out there. There’s also Instagram and Twitter for starters. And there are other ways to use today’s technology to connect with grandchildren. For example:
- Zoom: With a computer or phone, you can place and receive calls that allow you to see one another and catch up on the news, celebrate birthdays and anniversaries, share recipes, see a new baby and much more. You also can take your screen or phone outside to show off your garden, in the kitchen to see what’s cooking, or “meet” the new puppy via the internet. Zoom is just one of many video calling platforms. Other popular ones are FaceTime, and Google Meet.
- Video games. Everyone loves to have fun, and this is a great way to connect with grandchildren. Wii games are especially popular, with many senior living communities offering Wii bowling for residents and their families. Fun for your grandkids, and a great way for you to build hand-to-eye coordination.
The benefits of connection
Exploring all the new ways you can connect with your grandchildren means new ways to stay in touch with them. It helps you get to know who they are and what they enjoy doing in their spare time. It provides the opportunity to teach them new hobbies and share your wisdom. It also helps keep your brain sharp and offers healthy connection and a sense of purpose.
At St. Mark Village, we know the power of connection, and the important role it plays in everyday happiness as well as longevity. We’d love to tell you more, including how our community helps you thrive and offers seamless access to future care options. Come see us!