A grandparent is one of the most important caregivers in a child’s life, next to the child's parents. Grandparents love grandchildren unconditionally and often have more time, patience, and money to share with them than they had with their children.
However, in today’s mobile world, living down the street, or even in the same town as a child’s grandparents is becoming less and less the norm. Keeping the grandparent-grandchild bond strong can be done, though, despite long distances between the two.
The AARP surveyed 2,800 grandparents age 50 and up by telephone. The results showed that grandparents are shouldering more responsibilities than in the past, due to the economy and generational differences.
These responsibilities, including financial ones, are helping to keep long-distance grandparents connected to their grandchildren. They are also staying connected in more substantial ways too.
A 2014 AARP survey found that grandparents are using the “old-fashioned” telephone to stay in contact with far-away grandkids. It found that more than 80 percent of grandparents reported talking on the telephone to their grandchildren at least once a month.
Despite the fact that many grandparents also have access to technology, the AARP survey found most of them do not use gadgets like smartphones and tablets to communicate with their grandkids. However, some experts think that this is changing and that technology will be used more and more by seniors to keep in touch.
Amy Goyer, the family expert for AARP, says “technology has been a great gift to the long-distance grandparent, offering new ways to connect and build relationships. It’s all about building a relationship through shared experiences.”
Goyer wants grandparents to know that if a trip to see the grandkids isn’t feasible, there are lots of ways to see and hear each other from a distance. Using video chats like Skype, Tango, or FaceTime, are good alternatives to in-person visits.
While technology is a terrific, useful way to stay connected when living away from grandparents, there are other decidedly low-tech ways to do that as well.