By: Sarah Balke
I had a phone conversation with my mom last night and I told her, “Moms are much smarter when you are in your 40’s than when you are in your 20’s!” Mother’s Day is a pretty special day when considering the fact we wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for our moms. This Mother’s Day is different for many of us. Some are celebrating the anticipation of being a first time mom, others are celebrating the first time without their mom, and many of us are celebrating from a distance.
We’ve heard the stories of families standing outside the window at nursing homes to chat with their parents and grandparents. We’ve seen the videos with parents writing notes to their kids to let them know they are alright. It is heartbreaking. However, studies show that the use of video chats – versus email, social media, and instant messaging - can reduce the risk of depression.
According to Pew Research, 81% of Americans own a smartphone and nearly 75% of the population owns a desktop or laptop computer. As for adults age 65+, 53% own a smartphone. That means, along with your encouragement and help, there is a pretty good chance your mom will have everything she needs to begin video chatting. Here are a few tips to help:
- Determine if it would be easier for your mom to use a smartphone or computer. If they are using a smartphone here are some suggested apps: Facetime, Skype, Zoom, Duo, or Whatsapp. If they are using a computer, Skype, Facebook Video Chat, or Zoom are all good options.
- If there is an app they have already used or want to try, go with it…even if you haven’t used it yet.
- Always be patient when showing your mom how to use a new app and DO NOT talk to them like they are a child. Remember, this is the person who changed your diapers, taught you to walk, and probably helped you through school! If you begin to notice they are getting frustrated, stop, and set up a time to try again.
- If you have siblings, make sure everyone has the app that is working best for mom. Schedule a time for everyone to get online together! Before you do this the first time, make sure to manage everyone’s expectations. There is nothing more frustrating than getting 3 different answers on how to do something that is new to you in the first place. Make sure your siblings know who will be responsible for answering questions about technology if your mom asks.
Smartphones, tablets, or computers can never replace a hug from your mom, but sometimes we have to embrace technology instead. It’s time to get techy and chat with mom!