Expert: It’s important for grandparents to stay connected during isolation

Apr 07, 2020
Stay connected with grandkids via technology during the coronavirus outbreak. Source: Getty

Grandparents could feel a sense of uselessness and loss of purpose amid the coronavirus crisis, a relationship expert has warned, with many forced to separate themselves from grandchildren to prevent the spread of Covid-19.

Over the past few weeks as cases of coronavirus continue to rise, more and more over-60s are choosing to self-isolate. And while it’s a practical measure to keep them safe and healthy, it can be a challenging time for those that have strong family connections and are used to seeing their grandchildren regularly.

Relationships Australia NSW Chief Executive Officer Elisabeth Shaw said there are some real challenges for grandparents over the coming weeks. This is of particular concern to those whose adult children are trying to juggle working from home with looking after their children on a full-time basis.

“It can lead to grandparents losing a sense of purpose and meaning if this was a core activity in their lives,” Shaw said. “It could [also] lead to a greater sense of isolation, [as] younger generations are still trying to work and might be involved in homeschooling.

“It can exacerbate a sense of uselessness for some who already worry about that. Others who have more of their own projects will fare better on that front.”

To help combat these feelings of isolation and lack of purpose, Shaw suggested using technology to communicate with loved ones when face-to-face contact isn’t an option, insisting that it’s a bit of a myth that older generations aren’t tech0savvy — and there’s research to prove it!

A Digital Paradox for Seniors report found that older Australians beat many other demographics in their enthusiasm to embrace technology. In fact, the only thing holding back older people from doing more with technology was the lack of opportunity to lean.

“As younger generations tend to love technology, talking to each other via Skype or FaceTime is really valuable, and this can happen even for people in residential care,” Shaw said.

“This medium can allow grandparents to catch up, read stories, do drawings together and show off the work, guide some cooking [and] be involved in homeschooling. [While] ringing parents can be one of the breaks in the day.”

How are you staying in touch with your grandchildren during the Covid-19 outbreak?

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