What are grandparents to do when they want to see family more often than schedules and the pace of daily life allow?
One option is to use counter modern life with modern technology, says Mickey Goodwin, Regency Retirement Village of Jackson Executive Director.
“We have a computer in our internet café that residents, families, and employees can use. Our entire building is wired for Wi-Fi coverage (even memory care). There is a public access and then private for our managers and nurses which is HIPAA compliant,” Goodwin said.
Maintaining two separate access points makes for a secure system and another that affords residents the ease and flexibility of connecting devices wirelessly. When grandkids do come to visit, they’re likely happy to have the wireless signal to connect to so they can play their games on their mobile devices while enjoying their visit with a resident.
Here at Regency Jackson, we maintain a Facebook profile where families of residents can see what we have going on. The link is https://www.facebook.com/Regency-Retirement-Jackson-176921574978/?fref=ts
On a more personal level, social media is a popular way for people to share what’s happening in their lives as well, so tapping into the profile of a family member and viewing their written thoughts and shared photos is a bit like experiencing these things first-hand.
Seniors across the country are learning how to use the Internet to connect with and talk to family who live far away.
Google+ “Hangouts” and Skype Video Conferencing take it a step further, introducing crisp video so residents and their family member can see each other’s expressions and body language. They can show off crafts they’ve made or enjoy the smiling face of a great-grandchild who cannot yet speak.
Teenage grandchildren or great-grandchildren are most likely to be found on their smartphones sending text messages to their friends. Typed messages can be sent using messenger applications like Facebook or by sending email messages to loved ones’ email addresses. As with all things online, it is important to be careful and not respond to messages that seem way out of character for the person who supposedly sent them. Avoid opening file attachments if the person sending the message always won the Spelling Bee but can’t seem to put their words together in the message.
Seniors may be limited by what they can do physically using tiny character keyboards on smartphones or lack a comfort level when it generally comes to technology, but the staff at Regency Jackson and their own grandchildren may be able to help them learn new modes of communication and accommodate their desire to, as the commercial used to say, reach out and touch someone.