Gran techies: The rise of connected grandparents

How to help Australian grandparents utilise the internet to feel more connected with friends, family, and community.

In the past, getting older may have meant adopting a quieter lifestyle with fewer opportunities to socialise.

However, with advances in communications technology, connecting with friends and loved ones has become easier than ever.

This, coupled with access to fast broadband, can go a long way in addressing the problem of old-age isolation by enabling human interaction and connection, transcending the boundaries of physical distances.

So if you're looking to get your parents or grandparents started on the digital journey, here are a few starting points:

Let's get social

The next time you’re in discussions with a grandparent or an elderly relative, why not bring up the idea of social media?

It’s an opportunity to bring relationships of the past and present into the digital world, and build new ones, helping create a sense of belonging online.

Depending on usage, skill and requirement, choose a platform that will offer them the best usability experience. Facebook is usually the first-to-mind for its easy, intuitive interface and for the simple fact that most people have a Facebook account! 

Instagram and Pinterest are also good options if your grandparents are a bit more savvy and keen on visual storytelling!

Video calls made easy

If regular mutual visits aren’t possible between grandkids and grandparents, face-to-face’ relationships are now just a mouse click away, transporting grandparents into the living rooms (or even workplaces) of their connections.

Video calls through Skype or FaceTime are a great way to utilise fast broadband to foster and grow relationships with loved ones, and perhaps even re-connect with long lost-friends or family who may live far away.

While it may seem daunting at first, with a little time and patience it can be relatively easy to help set up and guide someone who may not initially have been familiar with video calls.

For Skype calls, it can be as simple as having an email address and computer with a camera, to then follow the prompts to download the application on their computer.

Similarly with FaceTime, anyone with an iPhone and fast internet connection has the potential for quick and simple video calls, again at the click of a button (or tap of a screen).

Connections, no matter which way you go about it, are now often almost instantaneous, and often enabled by fast internet speeds over the nbn™ network.

Members of East Ballarat Men's Shed

 

Join a connected club

Joining a social club is a great way to connect with other like-minded individuals and can be done both online and offline.

This is a great way to introduce grandparents to the world of connectivity in a familiar setting. Here are three social networks that offer just that:

 

 

  • The Shed Online brings men together to network, make friends and expand their skill sets. It's as easy as joining the discussion forum on the website, or by visiting a local Men’s Shed and getting involved in community building projects.

  • The Older Women’s Network is a great way for women mid-age and older to connect with each other and get involved in meaningful projects that benefit the well being of older women. With branches all over the country, it’s a great opportunity for women to get involved in upcoming events, projects and research. 

  • Starts at 60 is an online community for active over-60s to source news and information on almost anything, from superannuation to travel advice. Its social media accounts are managed by an expert team of writers available to chat.

 

Whether it’s connecting with friends and family online, or joining a social group and expanding friendship circles, harnessing the power of fast internet via the nbn™ network  is helping some grandparents become more connected than ever.

Why not give your parents or grandparents a crash course in social media or Skype the next time you speak, and open them up to a world of new possibilities.