It’s tempting to see the various devices our grandkids won’t put down as “the enemy,” something that prevents face-to-face conversation.
But as a grandmother of eight, I’ve learned that embracing screens—and using them—has been one of the best ways to stay connected.
With six of my grandkids living out of town, applications like Skype and FaceTime have turned out to be a great way for us to share in each other’s lives. The kids have used these to show me everything from jewelry they’re designing to art projects in progress. I’ve tuned into soccer games with the help of an iPad, watching them in real-time and then rehashing the details later via Skype.
Whether they’re in Seattle, San Diego or Las Vegas, my grandkids use technology to bring me into their homes, show me their pets, their evolving growth charts on the walls and whatever new gadgets they’re into.
Using technology has brought me closer to my grandchildren, even the ones who live near me in Los Angeles; there seems to be something magnetic about a screen, and the kids are far more inclined to sit and chat with me when there’s a screen between us than when we’re together in a room.
So, I embrace it.
If In fact, I’m usually the one who has to end a Skype call! They may live close, but everybody’s schedule is a moving target, and visits are hard to plan. Technology lets me stay more involved in their daily lives than I would be without it.
FaceTime, Skype, Google Hangouts, Tango (like FaceTime but for Android users), and Zoom (A Skype alternative) are all amazing tools, and the firm I work with, LivHOME, offers videoconferencing and messaging capabilities through its LivHOME CareMonitor system for seniors.
To anyone wary of these newfangled devices and their effects on relationships, I say: Technology is here to stay. Embrace whatever it takes to bring you closer the people you love.
Tara Eisner has been a professional Care Manager at LivHOME – one of the nation’s largest providers of professionally led at-home care for seniors – since 1999. She received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the Professional School of Psychological Studies, San Diego, and in addition to being a certified care manager, is a licensed marriage and family therapist.