Facebook & granny, who would have ever thought that would become the “duo” in my 85 year old grandmothers’ golden years? Facebook has impacted my grandmother’s life in such a way that I never would have deemed possible even in my over 15-year career with senior living communities.
My grandmother has found relatives she never met in Italy and reconnected with elementary school friends in Arkansas, all via Facebook. It is wonderful! She stays in contact with her older sister in Fort Smith this way, as well as other relatives in Pennsylvania and well, all over the country. The excitement it brings her to see an old photograph from an old friend is terrific. She loves reminiscing with school age friends of my mom and those of mine & my siblings too. They love being able to talk to her & recall memories, just as much. For Granny, (or “twinkielady” as she is known on Facebook & by most of our school age friends) using Facebook has allowed her to get in touch with long-lost friends and relatives, see pictures of grandchildren (and great grandchildren & even a couple of great, great grandchildren), and learn more about products and services that mean something to her. She can’t travel too far very comfortably these days, so she is able to listen to football games & see video posts and pictures from family members, that keeps her part of the excitement. She has a standing Friday night date with the computer & Legacy Sports to listen to my youngest son’s Friday night football games, as she lives in Oklahoma & we in the Houston area.
But there’s more to social media than Facebook and more use for her than just looking over a few family pictures. She swears she is not a “computer smart” person. She does need help from my uncle, aunt or cousins on occasion, but for the most part, she manages & says what she wants to say & keeps in contact via social networking. The social aspect is tremendous, but the brain activity of recalling memories, names & dates, where she stored old photos, etc. is even better. Learning to scan photos has been taxing, admittedly, but we’re getting there. She loves people & that coupled with being just a bit “nosy” in her mature years, gives her reasons to get up each morning & log on to find out just what the heck is going on with the rest of the family, despite the aches and pains at 85. And boy, she doesn’t miss a chance to weigh in if we’re messing up! It gives us as family & friends a unique opportunity to benefit as well, from her years of experience & wisdom. As a hot headed little Italian lady, we’re sometimes glad Facebook has a filter.
I like too, that before she just takes a professional’s word (physicians, pharmacist, contractor) for something, she uses Facebook and the internet to ask questions and research things. It helps to lessen the opportunity to be scammed or taken advantage of by unscrupulous folks out there who take advantage of seniors. It’s like an ongoing education, even in your 80’s.
Most of all, I like that Granny enjoys herself. To see a special note from my grandma when I log on, a funny picture she took when I couldn’t be there with the family or to hear her laugh when I can be with her while she’s on Facebook. Who would have ever thought, setting up a social networking account to get football photos for my “twinkielady” two years ago, would have impacted her life & that of my friends and family, so wonderfully.
– Michelle Rainer