I recommend checking out this short piece, Help Seniors Stay Connected Through Technology, published in The Tennessean. Written by Ann Bishop, the article suggests ways to help seniors and I might add, aging parents, engage with technology and take more advantage of communication opportunities.
Technology should be a two-part gift, where in addition to giving the equipment, loved ones give the gift of their time to help seniors learn how to use it. Show them how to open up an email account, sign up for Facebook or answer their smartphone. Be patient, focus on ease of use and be ready for lots of questions every time they log in until they figure it out. Understand that it will take time and will require repetition before a senior is comfortable.
My husband and I are empty nesters. Over these past few years, as blog readers know, we helped to support his parents, now deceased. These days we regularly touch base with my parents by phone and in person as often as possible, and though they are currently independent and active, at times they welcome our help.
Now we, too, are also beginning to think about retirement, and it’s never far from our thoughts. Even with no specific deadlines and daily jobs we really like, even as time passes in a relaxed sort of way, we find ourselves imagining the next developmental stage of our lives. What will we do? Will we work part-time? How about ushering some evenings at theatres? Will we be able to travel as much as we want? Oh, and how will our financial resources hold out?
The proprietors over at the Inside Aging Parents blog, and especially Bill Shanks, are writing some interesting posts about the beginning of retirement and the necessary decision-making, and their thoughts address many of my questions. If you, too, are beginning to think about this late-in-life developmental stage, I encourage you to head on over there and check out Bill’s posts.
A good deal of the Green House project philosophical basics grew out of Eden Alternative, and Dale Carter over at Transition Aging Parents has an excellent interview on the Eden Model at her blogtalk radio site (where she also posts lots of other good interviews).
Please note that blogtalk radio runs video advertisement before Dale’s program begins, but you can also listen by clicking on the welcome page of Transition Aging Parents and scrolling down on the right hand side or the page, thereby avoiding most of the blogtalk radio advertising.
It’s that time of year again.
Many blogs and caregiving articles are encouraging adult children to “be alert for signs” of extreme aging. With titles such as “Ten Things to Observe When You Visit Your Aging Parents Over the Holidays” or “How to Spy and Check Out Whether A Parent Needs Support,” the posts explain that family crisis time may be just around the corner, and you may need to use the holiday get-togethers as an information gathering period. And, yes, one recent piece really did use the word spying.
These articles describe a real phenomenon. Unfortunately, many of us adult children — some of us living far away and others just around the corner from parents — do not tune in until significant problems arise. What puzzles me, however, is why so few articles try help us figure out how to begin these conversations in advance — mastering the communication basics and expecting typical setbacks — long before the problems build up and crises loom.
I’ve just read an thought-provoking research article from the journal, Pediatrics, Grandparents Driving Grandchildren: An Evaluation of Child Passenger Safety and Injuries (freely available, PDF full text or abstract. As a part of this study, the researchers from Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) and the University of Pennsylvania Medical School collected insurance data on 11,850 children who were in car accidents, some of them driving with parents and others driving with grandparents.
And guess what the researchers observed?
Something about the way grandparents drive, the data indicate, keeps their grandchildren safer when an accident occurs, than when the children are driving with parents. Researchers hope to investigate further to find out more about this phenomenon, especially given that 70 million boomers are moving into the grandparent phase of life.
According to the article: Read more »
If you like this post, please read my Senior Parent Hospitalization posts: Report #1: This Hospital Gets It, Report #2: Peace and Quiet, Report #3: Four Ways to Reduce Stress for Patient Families, Report #4: Observations from My Dad, Report #5: The Emergency Room Worked Fast, and Report #6: Learning About Cardiac Procedures and Surgeries.
It was long past midnight when my husband and I drove toward the Shenandoah Mountains and Harrisonburg, Virginia. My father was in the emergency department at Rockingham Memorial Hospital (RMH), due to complications from congestive heart failure, and we were on our way to help. Concerned, I took the time to fill my book bag with all of the official papers an adult daughter may need if decisions are required when a parent is hospitalized.
As we drove, the two of us talked about what might be in store for our family over the next 12 hours. We expected to arrive at the hospital, go to the emergency room, and find my dad on a gurney — uncomfortable, irritated, and who knows what else. We knew from emergency trips with my husband’s mother and father that the long waits, loud noises, and ER confusion (perceived through elder eyes) led to extreme discomfort and disorientation, no matter what time of day the visits occurred. In fact, I wrote a post for this blog describing just how long it takes for the confusion, once it sets in, to go away. Read more »
How would digital literacy and behavior improve if more families saw blogging as a way to communicate, share, and connect with extended family members, as well as teach children, parents, and grandparents the basics about global communication? Would they be thrilled that their younger family members had a big head start developing digital citizenship skills? Would grandparents, motivated by extra connections with their grandchildren, develop new confidence in their technology skills? Would parents be delighted at all of the writing taking place and take pride as they watched children, as well as grandparents, become more savvy digital citizens?
Blogging is safe and easily managed. While we’ve all heard the scary stories, such as people going online and writing mean comments or nasty rumors that go public or even viral — in truth just about all blogging is safe and fun. Blogging enables people to write, revise, write more, and publish for a community of readers.
Imagine, for a moment, if a family with two children, age five and seven, along with a bunch of relatives, starts a blog. Read more »