It’s not always easy to think of the right gift for Grandma or Grandpa because they always seem to have everything they need. Consider giving them the gift of connectedness this holiday season. My 78 year old mother joined Facebook and got her first email account on the same day last month.
Her first reaction to the IDEA of getting a Facebook account was “I don’t want to share my personal information online, which I commonly hear from nonusers whether senior citizens or not. Explain to Grandma that it’s up to her to decide what she shares. I am very fortunate that my mother likes to follow my business Fan pages on Facebook. She “likes” everything I do! This is gold for any entrepreneur.
Help Grandma set up her profile page and load a photo. Find all the things they love to follow. For my mom, we arranged for her to follow favorite schools, towns, local and national news organizations, a favorite store, and the Boston Red Sox. Of course, she connected to cousins and other relatives. She loves to check her Facebook feed every day and see what is happening. Keep those “likes” coming Mom!
Email is another great experience for our favorite senior citizens, especially when they get set up for the first time. Instead of hearing news second hand or days later, they are now fully connected on their own.
All of this brings to mind the reverse mentoring from companies. Many large companies pair Millennial workers with Boomers for reverse mentoring. The younger generation typically shares communication strategies including perspectives on social media usage. Your family is no different. It’s up to all of us to help the Greatest Generation get and stay connected.
I am really proud of Grandma’s enthusiastic attitude about continuous learning. Along with mastering Facebook and email, she is learning how to use an iPad and taking Spanish classes. She enjoys every day and soaks in the new opportunities.
During the holidays, many older people are feeling sad, lonely or disconnected. One of the greatest gifts we can share is to help these folks find a meaningful new way to easily connect. Whether it’s Grandma, Grandpa or an Aunt, teach them how to connect on Facebook, Pinterest or your platform of choice. You’ll gain something new in common and be richly rewarded for the experience.
What’s your experience helping your older relatives be more connected?