Sometimes it can feel as if your grandchildren are from a different planet and making arrangements to see them in-person is the equivalent of arranging a short interstellar voyage. If you want to have a greater presence in their lives, you have to go where they are and speak their language.
Here are a few tips to make that happen...
Get Smart... phone – Today's youth live on their mobile phones, experiencing everything by snapping photos for sharing on social networks and silently text messaging their friends (who oddly enough, may be sitting right next to them). This is quite a change from previous generations who are accustomed to paying friends and neighbors a visit and sharing long conversations as social gestures. If kids bring their gadgets when they visit you at Maybelle Carter, it probably isn't meant disrespectfully; most of them simply have these devices glued to their hips, figuratively speaking.
You can prove yourself to be one savvy senior by texting occasional, brief messages to your grandkids. They're more likely to respond to a brief "Hello" or a short joke than attempts to have a prolonged conversation. These days, communicating with youngsters is about competing for attention in a world full of distractions. You don't want to overdo it, but an occasional message does the trick. Be aware that teens have their own shorthand when texting. "BRB" means "be right back", for example, while "LOL" means "Laugh Out Loud". A simple Google search can help you decode their language.
Get Social (A Lil Bit) – Social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube can be a double-edged sword. You get a glimpse into the lives of loved ones, but you may also see more than you bargained for, especially when it comes to young people who may be on their best behavior around their elders but act silly in front of their friends. Some people fail to understand that Facebook is a megaphone and treat it more like a diary, oversharing aspects of their lives. Respect their need for privacy and you may be rewarded with more frequent online interactions and a glimpse into what's happening in their world. Facebook Messenger, which works like text messaging, can be a gateway for short written conversations between face-to-face visits.
Get Skyped – Skype is the name of a video conferencing software program available on most desktop and mobile computing devices. For free over the Internet, you can broadcast from a camera and see video of your loved one displayed. This is great for situations where frequent interactions in the flesh just aren't practical. Little ones like great-grandchildren will react to seeing your face and hearing your voice so that when you visit for the holidays, you're already familiar.
Maybelle Carter offers a computer in the residence living room where they can access the Internet using the router in our offices. This allows residents to have a link to the outside world across the world wide web. Indeeed, there are several ways Tennessee seniors can use modern technology to have more frequent interactions with grown children and grandkids.