Every adult child has some type of calendar issue when it comes to scheduling certain activities with senior parents. Even when parents keep track of their own affairs, adult children often need to be aware of some of the events.
It’s not that I need or want to know what my parents are doing every moment of their day, but when they schedule medical appointments or other meetings and I need to attend (and drive more than 100 miles to get to), it’s really important for us to coordinate our calendars. I need to see my mom’s schedule, and she needs to see mine so that she knows the days when I am working or other days when I really cannot get away.
We’ve tried a number of strategies, but often they require her to learn something entirely new, and events get scheduled on days that don’t work for at least one of us. Promptly figuring out and rescheduling the glitches is challenging.
Or it was until a week or so ago when my mother and I sat down to set up her new Google Calendar, sharing it with my Google account. Because she already uses Gmail (I recommend getting senior aging parents on this e-mail system first so they become familiar with the Google look and feel) my mom’s calendar learning curve was short.
Within a couple of hours she learned how to navigate around the calendar, add an event, and add more details if necessary. Now she has more than 100 events on the calendar including appointments, birthdays, and anniversaries, and she is working on entering less common events that occur just a few times a year — activities that are often difficult to remember — and general reminders.
With this new Google calendar system I see everything I need to see and so does my mom. And, since my mom keeps Dad’s calendar, she is adding his events as well.
Steps to Get Started If Your Parents Is Using a Computer
- Start a parent using Gmail and practice for a few weeks.
- Introduce the Google calendar, set it up, and name it.
- Share it with anyone who needs to see the information, and encourage those people to share.
- Start out adding basic events such as doctors’ appointments, birthdays, anniversaries.
- Introduce the editing window.
- Demonstrate how to identify different individuals’ events.
A Few Links to Help With Getting Started