Sharing Memories With Seniors: Apps, Video Chat, Digital Scrapbooking…

When we think of social media we generally think of the Gen X, Y, and the Boomer generations. But did you know that seniors are one of the fastest growing demographic segments in social media? As we approach the holidays, make the season extra special for the seniors in your life by sharing and creating magnificent memories, they have wonderful stories to tell.

I’m at the tail end of the Boomer generation and am amazed at how proactive seniors are using technology and social media. In 2013, 43% of Americans over 65 use at least one social networking site, compared with 26% in 2010 and 1% in 2008.

Think about it, when many seniors were young radio and record players were their main source of information and entertainment. Yet this feisty generation have been willing to tackle social media head on, keeping in touch with family and friends through email, social media, and video chat.

My own parents are in their late 80’s. My Dad is an avid email user, has a Twitter Account, and dabbled with Facebook for a while. He is a Smart Phone user, can text short messages, and connects with family and friends using his IPad and PC.

And if someone in your family suffers from Alzheimer’s or dementia, today’s technology and social channels can be a lifeline to connecting them with their memories.

Here are ways our family has incorporated technology and social media into the lives of our senior family members. See how technology and social media can enhance your holiday by shaking loose a memory and creating special moments for the entire family.

Mobile and Desktop Connecting

During the holidays, senior loved ones may feel sadness or isolation. Socialize and stay in touch with them using video chats like Skype, FaceTime, Vtok, or family Google Hangouts. The added benefit of video chats is you can see for yourself how your senior loved ones are doing. Take the opportunity to reminisce with the seniors in your life and see the joy in their face when you or the grandchildren come into view!

Activity Based Technology

When the younger members of the family head out for an energetic game of touch football, don’t leave the seniors in your life sitting on the sidelines.

Technologies like Wii games for social, physical and mental exercise are fantastic ways to include all generations in the holiday festivities. Try Wii Play which bundles nine games (table tennis, billiards, air hockey and more); the entire family is sure to get in on the action.

Apps

Apps create a new common ground between seniors, their children, and their grandchildren and are available for active seniors and seniors with dementia and memory difficulties. Apps allow seniors to customize them to their specific needs, whether it’s keeping up with news, challenging their memory with brain games, or eating healthy.

Check out the FamZoom App invented by grandparents Maria and Charlie Girsch. Charlie and Maria tapped into their inventing mojo to find a way to stay connected with their six grandsons.

Verizon’s “Top Apps For Seniors”  reviews 8 Apps for seniors from Finance, to Navigation, to the popular word-building game Words with Friends.

The ITunes store has a wide variety App’s for seniors, including seniors suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. Look under games or educational categories in the App store or use the search keywords Dementia App or Alzheimer App.

Digital Scrapbooking

Keep memories alive using digital scrapbooking programs like Shutterfly or Smilebox. Seniors have a lifetime of photos that can be shared and enjoyed by all members of the family. Gather the grandchildren and create scrapbooks that create memories for both the grandparents and kids.

Google Technology

Google’s Street View technology has been a blessing in our family. My mother who suffers from advanced Alzheimer’s disease has been able to visit places like her hometown, her childhood home, and the town her parents lived in, all using an IPad and Google’s Street View.

This technology allows all members of the family to learn more about those special places of long ago. Plug a loved one’s town, street, or a favorite childhood vacation place into Google Maps and share the memories as you turn back the hands of time and hear stories you may not have heard before.

Let this be the year you make this holiday season extra special for the seniors in your life by tapping into the magic of technology that brings us closer, even when we’re far apart.

Share your favorite way to keep in touch with parents and grandparents using the amazing technology of today!