Technology and Long Distance Care

They were simpler times that our parents lived in.  
Multigenerational families lived in the same house, or usually
just blocks away from each other.  Today, many families live
hundreds, even thousands of miles away from each other
making caring for aging parents difficult when life stage
events occur.    

The world we live in today allows us to become educated
allowing us to secure jobs with the potential to relocate us
around the globe.  Growing up, many of us dream of the day
when we can move away
from our home town.  
New and exciting cities
and jobs lure us away
from our friends and
most importantly, our
families.  We live our
lives usually going
home for holidays and
significant life stage
events such as birthdays,
anniversaries and graduations.  This is fine and life goes on
keeping in contact with our families on those special
occasions mixing in the occasional phone call or text
message.  As we age, it’s inevitable that our parents age
too.  

The reality is that we will all be faced with helping our parents
through their golden years.  The challenge is doing that
effectively, while living thousands of miles away.  Technology
today in many ways seems to complicate the lives of our
parents.  Many have no desire to learn how to use
technology to their advantage.  We must show our parents
that they can overcome their fears of technology and that
overcoming those obstacles can help in the communication
and decision making.  Take for example the use of computers
and web cams.  I realize that working through health care
issues and setting up in home care or assisted living
arrangements probably will require visits and extended stays,
but teaching your parent to use a computer and web cam can
provide you daily face to face opportunities to chat with your
loved ones.  

I’ve learned
from experience.
I chat daily with
my Mom and
can tell when
she is not
feeling well.  
Using a
telephone and
calling daily is
great, and I
encourage that,
but having a face to face conversation using the web cam is
priceless.  Web cams today are easy to use, and many come
built into laptops now and even in desktop monitors.  The
software is free as most instant messaging services offer free
web cam service.  It all sounds great, but how do you get
someone who can’t or won’t program the VCR to use a
computer?

Like I mentioned, web cam software has become very easy to
use.  You just open the instant message window, and click on
the person you want to chat with, and finally, click on the web
cam icon.  The person you are calling must then accept the
call, and once that happens, both parties can see and hear
each other.  Many senior centers offer computer classes that
will help teach the basics and train our seniors on everything
they need to know to quickly become subject matter experts
on the basics of computing.  This is a great way to get your
parents involved in a hobby, and be able to see their
grandchildren grow.  It’s a great way to improve
communications, and stay connected.

Genwich Life Services LLC

"Successfully guiding multi generational families through life stage planning"