Sometimes elderly people have a hard time getting out of the house, and that can cause them to lose touch with family members. And, sometimes the age gap can make it difficult for grandparents to connect with their grandchildren. As a family caregiver, you might notice that your parent is missing out on some family connections. If that’s the case, here are some ideas to help your parent to connect with grandchildren and other family members that they don’t see as often as they would like.
Help Your Parent to Learn How to Use Technology
The world is becoming increasingly dependent on the use of computers, smartphones, and other devices. However, according to an article published in 2015 by AARP, many adults who are 65 or older don’t even use email. That’s not so strange when you consider how rapidly technology has advanced over the years. They didn’t grow up with computers, so technology may seem intimidating. The good news is that more and more seniors are getting tech savvy. If your parent hasn’t embraced technology as a means of communication yet, encouraging them to do so will help them to stay in touch.
Many senior centers and libraries offer free or inexpensive classes for seniors to learn to use computers and even specific classes in social networking. If there isn’t a class available through the senior center or library, there may be a class offered through a local community college. If your parent is reluctant to give technology a try, give them a gentle nudge by showing them pictures on Facebook or set up a FaceTime or Skype session between your parent and one of their grandchildren.
Snail Mail Can Be Fun, Too
There’s nothing wrong with connecting via the good old U.S. Post Office, too! Your parent will enjoy receiving handmade cards, drawings, and letters from grandchildren and other loved ones. They may even be inspired to pick up a pen (or dictate to a caregiver if they have trouble writing) and compose a letter themselves.
Making a Connection When Grandchildren are Present
Sometimes even when grandparents and grandchildren do have opportunities to see one another it can be difficult for them to connect. Some ideas for helping a grandparent and grandchild to connect are:
- Play games together.
- Take turns reading to each other.
- Go on an outing to the library, the zoo, or even just a walk around the neighborhood.
Professional Caregivers Can Help Seniors Stay Connected
If you’re a long-distance family caregiver and not there to help your parent stay connected, your parent’s professional caregiver can help. A professional caregiver hired through an agency can help your parent stay in touch with you, grandchildren, and other family members by helping them to write letters and read mail that is received. If your parent is up to trying technology, a professional caregiver can drive them to classes or even work with them at home to learn something new.
If you or an aging loved one are considering caregivers in Loudoun, VA, please contact the caring staff at Assisting Hands today. (703) 982-0050.