Monday, August 3, 2015

Favoriting my Mom's tweets

My Mom is a pretty tech-savvy lady: She runs a brilliant blog, texts and shares photos, and she tweets more often than I do. All of this she learned on her own, and I am incredibly grateful for her willingness to be involved online. In her point of view, she is ready to interact with her grandchildren in whatever form of social media they end up on.

But a lot of grandparents are not like my Mom - they don't feel comfortable navigating the online world on their own. A recent study by Georgetown University shows that 82% of caregivers believe technology can make aging a better experience, and 63% agree that the person in their care is ready to learn. The problem? Time. Most of the caregivers in the study cited their own children's needs, a full-time job and other responsibilities absorbing all their available free time.

The federal government's numbers show that two-thirds of those past age 65 and receiving care at home get it exclusively from a family member, for free. About a third get some family care and some paid care. All of that means that caregivers provide an average of 75 hours of support per month.

So, how do we find the time to get our parents active online?
  • Start early. Ideally, get them started before they reach an age when they will need caregiving services. That way, they already know what to do and you can focus your care on other needs.
  • Go at your parent's pace. Don't try to tackle everything in one day.
  • Repetition is key. Outline what they have to do to get the web camera going and then set up appointments with them to use it often.
  • Follow their interests, not yours. Maybe your Dad doesn't need to know how to use Instagram.
Are your parents tech-savvy enough to keep in touch with their grandkids? What do you do to help keep them that way? Tell me in the comments.

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